What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a methodology aimed at performance improvement by reducing the number of defect to 3.4 defects per million items produced and thus a subsequent increase in profits and decrease in costs.It mainly targets to remove the obstacles in a process which are resulting in defects.

What is Agile?

Agile method is a software development process which mainly aims to bring incremental development by encouraging rapid and flexible response to changes. It follows a collective approach to project management which helps in reducing time-to-market significantly. Practices followed by agile can be applied to any knowledge-based complex creative development.

While six sigma and Agile exist in multiple numbers of forms and exploited on similar lines of concepts, there is a stark difference in their views.

EMPHASIS AND VARIABILITY

In Six Sigma there is emphasis on number and rigour whereas in Agile there is more emphasis on relationships, intuitions and patterns.

There is less variation expected and desired in an operational business process whereas in customer software development more variation is desired. Hence, under Six Sigma, less variability is present as compared to agile having higher variability.

MAIN FOCUS

Six Sigma practitioners believe that economic outcomes can be maximized by minimizing variability. And, this view is generally correct in manufacturing. 

In contrast, most Agile practitioners don’t focus on maximizing economic outcomes by minimizing variability, rather it adopts a management approach which works under the purview of variability. It recognizes the effect of innovation on economic outcomes.

SCOPE

Lean Six Sigma has a much wider scope and can be applied to any domain(both offline and online) of the industry.
Agile has a narrow scope and is specifically conceptualied for software development.

TYPE OF TOOL

Six sigma is a quality management tool which seeks to eliminate wastage, customer rejections, improve process in an optimized level.

While Agile is a process focussed quantitatively in which the project will be in same page of data and team gets good clarity regarding the daily deliveries or targets and share their grievances at a common platform.

CONCLUSION

Agile and Six Sigma follow a similar Approach but there exists many differences between the two which represents a striking contrast. It can be integrated with each other in certain projects as well but generally practitioners prefer using either of the two method as the main target to be achieved is significantly different.

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