Six-sigma not a guarantor of success

Motorola, the founding organisation for the “six sigma”  process improvement methodology,  is hitting hard times in the cellphone market.

This should not really be possible for an organisation that has been using and developing the “best” process improvement technology for over 20 years. Skeptics of quality improvement methodologies have produced statistics that show no correlation between improved EVA (economic value added) and adoption of these methodologies.

From my own experience, the RAZR cellphone I own is pretty but fails to “wow” through poor usability and strange rules that leave me annoyed and very unlikely to buy a Motorola cellphone in the future. It’s not as though cellphones are new at Motorola, they have been producing them for at least 15 years now. In that time you’d think that they would have got to grips with the basics of creating phones that are a delight to use - but perhaps in the rush to be cool the basics went out of the window.

Microsoft have embraced the concept of “good enough” software - routinely shipping software with bugs (but knowing these are relatively unimportant) - and it’s hard to argue against their EVA. Why are they successful? Because the value of the software they provide is high as usability is always a priority in their product development.

So, let’s not forget “it’s better to do the right things than to do things right”.

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