When it comes to quality, the goal is zero defects, but Six Sigma quality of near perfection is considered good enough. Yet IT often sees goals for 100% perfection. What are some of the goals set in IT, and how can you actually make progress toward meeting them?
Goal: 100% Uptime
This goal is often set after repeated outages or a disastrous one.
There are several potential solutions to meeting this goal in IT.
• Track all outages after they occur, including the duration and scale of impact. Identify root causes so that they can be resolved long term.
• Focus on reducing the severity of outages and their duration when large scale infrastructure is required to prevent them altogether. For example, improving automated reporting of outages or access to servers by those who can reboot them shortens the duration of outages before a new mirrored server is installed.
• Appreciate a reduction in the duration and/or severity of outages in the quest for improved uptime.
• Run your systems off Linux and Unix instead of Windows servers. There are Unix and Linux servers that have approach 100% uptime.
Goal: 100% Customer Satisfaction
Installation time, bug fixes, time to release and other metrics are variable and can change release to release. However, many organizations want their customers to be happy. So they seek 100% customer satisfaction.
• Track satisfaction on a five or ten point scale instead of a yes/no request. If users can report intermediate responses or “It’s OK” are less likely to pull down the satisfaction rating because their only options are “perfect/not”.
• Ask for more information when people say they are dissatisfied. Did software install incorrectly? Are they unhappy with customer service when they requested a refund? Does the software no longer interface with another tool? Is there a bug in the new release, or is someone upset that your product doesn’t have the latest feature of a competitor? Identify root causes that aren’t your fault so that you don’t inadvertently ding the team for factors they cannot control.
• Separate enhancements for defects in customer surveys. Track the recommended enhancements but don’t count them as dissatisfied customers unless you actually removed the feature they want to add back.