Six Sigma is a quality management methodology aimed at performance improvement by reducing the number of defects to 3.4 or few defects per million items produced and a subsequent increase in profits and decrease in costs. It mainly targets to remove the obstacles in a process which are resulting in defects. Six sigma rating indicates that 99.999966 % of what is produced is free from all kinds of defect and is a quality product.

It in an approach for improving quality in order to improve the performance and ensure effectiveness. It sets process improvement goals and priorities and helps in integrating the functions and objectives of a business organisation. It is generally used as a guide for a project, an organisation or a division. An organisation is divided into 5 stages of maturity from the prospective of CMMI focussing on process improvement which starts from least mature and goes up to the most mature.

There are around 16 processes areas which are tailored to meet the needs of an organisation.

Where does the difference lie?

Six Sigma methodology mainly lays emphasis on training to motivate the employees or participants and develop their communication skills whereas CMMI lays emphasis on infrastructure to ensure that the key processes are addressed.

Six Sigma is completely dependent and relies on the statistical approach to bring improvements in the quality of processes whereas in CMMI, the statistical approach is intended to be carried out while improving quality, however it is not implemented.

Six Sigma Certification both online as well as offline is generally given to individual practitioners and not the organisation .On the other hand, CMMI Certification is given to organisations and assessors and not individual practitioners.

Six Sigma is mainly focussed on learning from the internal experience and data i.e. day to day processes which are occurring in the organisation and making them defect free whereas CMMI is focussed on defining technical processes and management early.

Six Sigma assumes that the processes have been identified and defined i.e. it does not capture any new practices for implementation in an ongoing Six Sigma Project.

Six Sigma is broadly used by all types of organisations and is not limited to a particular industry but CMMI was primarily developed for the software industry and has limited application in comparison with six sigma.

7. Another major difference between six sigma and CMMI is that the six sigma approach includes techniques used to identify, measure, keep track of, and finally evaluate the effectiveness of process improvement activities. CMMI, on the other hand, is a set of guidelines with ‘how to’ approach of process improvement.

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