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R Rajesh

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R Rajesh last won the day on October 31 2017

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About R Rajesh

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    Rajesh Rajagopalan
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  1. R Rajesh

    Measure of Dispersion

    Measuring variation in Six Sigma can be done in many ways. Let us discuss about some of them (relevant to this context) here , as what are they and why they are needed, with some examples. Standard Deviation Definition: This is the most accurate way of quantifying variation. It is an indicator of the degree of variation in a set of measurements or a process calculated by measuring the average spread of the data around the mean. This is a nice definition provided by Brue Howes, in his book for Six Sigma Green Belt. Range Definition: This is easy for calculation as this is just about the spread of values and you calculate the difference between the highest and lowest value (to find the range value). Inter Quartile Range(IQR): This portrays the values which lie in the middle 50% of your data . In other words, it portrays the difference between 75th percentile(Q3) and the 25th Percentile(Q1). IQR=Q3-Q1. IQR works on the principle by dividing data set into Quartiles (Q1,Q2,Q3) .This uses a box plot as a graphing tool summarising with 5 points that portrays the centring, spread and distribution of of a set of continuous data. The plot typically has a box, whiskers, Outliers. The 5 points that it shows are - maximum value, minimum value, median, Q3(75th percentile) and Q1(25th percentile). Whiskers are the lines drawn from the end of the box(on either side) to the maximum and minimum values respectively. Comparison of Standard Deviation, IQR, Range as which is better. Is Standard Deviation better than IQR and Range ? Let us discuss as which is better than the other. Standard Deviation : Generally, data distributions are of Normal distribution(Bell Shaped). Eg: Finding the average height of men and women in a college, finding the average marks in a classroom. But there may be cases where the data distribution can be skewed. Eg: when you want to measure current (power) supplied (in watts) in a power fluctuation happening location and you have that data distribution, or the errors induced in a broadband service provider and so on .... So for skewed data and also for addressing outliers, Standard deviation is not robust. Inter Quartile Range: This is more robust than Standard Deviation for addressing outliers and also for efficiently addressing ordinal data,non-normal distribution data. Because we are able to calculate the highest and lowest value with the help of the IQR value(Q3 minus Q1), we are able to find the outliers with relative ease. With respect to Skewdness, by comparing the quartiles values with median, we are able to decipher whether data is skewed or not. Range: Range may not fair better in comparison with Standard Deviation. However, there are cases where Range is needed to be shown. Eg:1: In Health sector (Hospitals), if the visiting Doctor needs the BP range(say as 80-110, 70-100,... ) of his patients. Eg2: Providing Grade/Ranking Class in mark system. Distinction Class- Above 85%, First Class - 60-80%, Second Class: 50-60%; Third class-40-50%. This may not be in practice, these days across the Globe, but still similar grading is prevalent in some parts of the world. Conclusion: Standard Deviation, IQR, Range are ways of measuring variation. While Standard Deviation is better to use for normally distributed data, IQR is robust enough for working on skewed data and also for ordinal data and also very useful for addressing outliers. Also, Range can be effectively made used of in health sectors which are quite useful and other sectors as well.
  2. R Rajesh

    Risk Priority Number (RPN)

    What is RPN ? Risk Priority Number , known as RPN, in abbreviated form, is a product of the values laid out by three factors viz., Severity, Occurence and Detection. Why RPN is needed and how is it used ? RPN prioritizes the risks, that are specified through the FMEA technique. In a typical project scenario while using the FMEA technique, where RPN is the deciding factor in addressing the risks , a risk with a higher RPN value is placed above the risk with a lower RPN in the Risk Register of a project. The Risk with the highest RPN value is the most sought after risk to be addressed and the risk with the lowest RPN value is the least sought after risk for addressing. Advantage of having RPN is that we are able to quantify the risks (with a numerical value which is easier to portray to any interested stakeholder) . Having said that there are some constraints/challenges in the usage of RPN, that need to be taken into account, which we shall discuss now. What are the challenges/Limitations in RPN In my view, there are quite a few challenges that i would like to highlight. 1. Arriving at RPN (value) requires a bit of experience in usage of FMEA technique. Having an incorrect RPN list may result in picking a lesser risk first than a much more important risk.In quite a few industries, SMEs might be there to define the RPN values. To elaborate more on this : Rating scale for the three factors Severity, Occurence and Detection would be from 1 to 10. But the specified value for each rating(1-10) can vary from Organisation to Organisation.Using RPN, requires bit of experience. So a lesser experienced person(in terms of FMEA technique usage) in a team, may not provide the right RPN simply because he/she might misinterpret or cannot take into consideration the impact/probablity of a risk and therefore can choose the right severity or Occurrence or detection factors. Putting a wrong or indifferent RPN value can make the risks incorrectly prioritised. Therefore some experience is required in FMEA technique for a person to effectively prioritize the risks. 2. RPN will require recalibration over a period of time. Hence its a moving value as risk prioritization would invariably keep changing based on the severity, occurence , detection factors and also the ability of the team/organisation (involved/affected in/by the risks) to address those relevant risks. Therefore constant monitoring of the RPN value is needed. To elaborate more on this : For instance, in the beginning/initial phase of a IT testing project, there may be quite a number of risks, such as a non availability of separate testing environments for System Integration Testing (say , for the testers of service providing company) and User Advanced Testing(Customer testing) but that as the project progresses that risk might have been addressed/mitigated or a timeline would have been known for that to be resolved. Or there could be a particular feature/functionality which cannot be done by using a specific technology or there could a niche-skill for which a resource might not be available at a given point of time. These sort of issues could be addressed by replacement technologies/making use of a specialized human resource (for the niche skill) for a particular time and thereby mitigate that risk. In such cases, the RPN value gets recalculated as the addressing/mitigating of the risks modify the values of the severity or occurrence factors. 3. Calculating RPN value is time-consuming and slightly complex. Why ? To elaborate more on this : Apart from the fact that this requires an experienced person who is well-versed in using FMEA technique, its also needs to be calculated multiple times (frequency of which depends on factors such as risks getting addressed, efficient addressing of risks, and so on...) . Its always an ongoing process. In general , the structure would be that RPN is calculated first , during the "AS-IS" state (when it is calculated before we act upon the RISK associated with our activities - project or wherever you apply the Risk Mgmt through FMEA) and next, when it is calculated after we act upon the RISK. As mentioned in #2, because this is a moving value, its imperative that you need to know the RPN values for both "AS IS" (Existing one when you are yet to address the risk) and the "To-Be" one which ideally would be the state when existing risks are addressed. This RPN calculation activity would keep happening and due diligence need to be given for this critical activity. In a typical six sigma project, the Measure phase would have the "AS IS" state (RPN value) and in Analyse/Improve phase, the RPN value might vary after actions are being established/put in place. Conclusion : We saw the need for RPN in FMEA technique and we also saw the challenges/limitations that it provides. Using RPN requires a bit of expertise and prior knowledge to get the right prioritization of your risks. RPN can also challenge a person's thought process on cases, where the RPN for two or more risks have identical (equal) RPN value. In such cases, we need to have threadbare analysis of those risks (with the same RPN value) and see which should be picked first. The 3 factors- Severity, Occurrence (Frequency) and Detection factors will come into play. With a proper experience cum expertise, and with right set of actions, such risks and all other risks should be addressed effectively and efficiently. RPN would be an effective tool if the right combination of team and expertise is available within the teams, in an organisation.
  3. R Rajesh

    Long term vs Short Term

    The process capability and hence the sigma level of an improved process will be at a greater level, as soon the improvement is done. Because every process will have a natural degradation, the process capability and hence the sigma level of that process will lower down, over period of a time. Motorola figured this out quite early and made a shift allowance of 1.5 sigma . Long Term variation = Short Term variation -1.5 Sigma. Very simple example for a process degradation : If a road is being laid out on National Highways, for one/two month(s), there may not be a soft spot or potholes or damaged spots. But by 4-6 months, the road may be severely damaged or even inaccessible. This is due to multiple causes such as Env.conditions , heavy traffic, more heavy vehicles operating Another example is Software Code deployed in production. First one or two months or during the warranty period (Short-term) there would not be much issues or minimal issues.But post that (long term), the issues could creep more as we may not have SMEs available, new team might work on the supporting the application,...
  4. R Rajesh

    Hiring a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Professional

    There are quite a few manufacturing companies which even mandate atleast 2 six sigma projects(DMAIC/DMADV) to be completed as a prerequisite to become eligible for becoming a six sigma Black professional internal to, their organisation. The objective is to ensure that through such projects the black belt professional can have varied experience and can get a chance to explore more tools and techniques and also a chance to exhibit his/her skills and help the project team . Hence its mandated by organisations that black belt professionals do the DMAIC or DMADV projects.
  5. R Rajesh

    Hiring a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Professional

    Yes. In my opinion, full-fledged DMAIC or DMADV project is an essential criterion for the hiring of a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt professional in an improvement manager job role. Such a project would ensure that the black belt is retaining/refresh his/her knowledge through constant usage of tools and techniques.
  6. R Rajesh

    Efficient, Effective

    Efficient : It means doing something of quality with minimum wasted effort or expense, and in the process achieving the best possible outcome. Effective: Having the intended or needed result successfully. Example for case 1: Efficient process but not an effective one: In an IT support project, whenever a bug/defect needs to be tested, the ideal way is to provide the fix(Code) , test it in local environment and then deploy to production environment (Efficient way). For lower severity defects, this may work. But because the downtime for severity 1 defects would be very less, developers/support analysts would not have time luxury to do this and hence this efficient process may not be of help to them, as the critical feature/functionality needs to be restored quickly. Hence even if this is an efficient process, for Severity 1 & 2, this process may not be effective as doing this way may take some time which may be cross the SLA for severity 1 & 2 to be missed. Therefore this may not become an effective process. Though as a workaround , the organisation can make use of Experienced or SMEs (of the applications) to address these Severity 1 and Severity 2 bugs/defects who would bring their expertise to offset this problem by providing the fix and then deploy it directly in the production environment. Example for case 2: Effective process but not an efficient one: Consider an IT support (maintenance) project. Two constant values need to be included in the software code for doing a processing (Calculation), by the support analyst. Now the analyst 'hard' codes these values into certain set of files (where this is needed). Hard coding (can be called as Magic Number in this context) means that numeric values are inserted into the code instead of using through a variable which can be declared as a CONSTANT, which is the efficient way. In case, due to business logic, the constant values get changed , then all the hard coded values need to get changed in each file and manual updates need to happen. So there is a chance that manual error or missing of the hard coded value in a particular file might happen. Declaring the constant value through a CONSTANT variable might avoid these errors, which is the most efficient way. Therefore while we can achieve what we want with the hard coded values (to satisfy the business needs) which can fetch the right results(effectiveness), it is not the efficient way of doing that processing as aforementioned.
  7. R Rajesh

    Operational Excellence

    Operational Excellence Professionals In General , these professionals work as part of supporting team to the management's needs and do not belong to any functional department in an organisation. Management uses them where improvements needs to be done on cost , quality, scope etc.,... This will ensure that customer gets maximum profit. What happens when cost-cutting happens 1. Normally these professionals are Master BB/BB who are rich in experience and who might be in higher grade/designation in an organisation and hence would cost more to the organisation. 2. Unlike other employees, these professionals will not be part of any team but are themselves part of a team whic would support management needs. During recession period, therefore , management might reduce the team size. 3. As these professionals are not part of any project team, they may not be able to generate any revenue directly from the customer, though they are the primary ones who will ensure that a project saves money due to improvements shown in its team. This can happen quite frequently in software industries. 4. As these professionals focus too much on operational excellence, they may loose the focus on their Technical or functional knowledge over a period of time and may not be able to help teams more effectively addressing their issues. Such professionals may be identified. 5. Management might look into SeniorJunior ratio and act upon or might like to have only limited amount of persons in each grade. Conclusion: This is why we see as why there is reduction in full time LSS resources when there is cost cutting
  8. R Rajesh

    Zero Defect - Debate

    Hi Vastupal Vashisth, Bit amused with this statement. Bursting into laughter on seeing this. Would not be in a position to debate this much if i dont know about what am talking!! Am not even talking about ZD changing from situation to situation. A defect will be defined by the respective team/process owner . Obviously there is no two opinion. 85% efficiency - designed by you as service provider ? - i said that as voice of the process. If its the maximum limit (which i said as limitation) then customer would see which system can provide better value. When we talk about the maximum capability on a system with limitation, its about the customer acknowledging the limitation and how we arrive at a defect free system. Thats what i was referring to in a different way. W.r.t my 95 % defects free example, i was quoting a different point to portray that even beyond that if we achieve also , still we would be deemed missing zero defects. No customer would like to have a defective product/service(i stressed on this in my earlier chat).Now let me say where these scenarios can come to quell your doubts: First of all this is a target range (SLA) customers think can suit them because, 1. Probably a pilot version of the software is rolled out to limited users and the customers want to see how the product looks like and they put focus on how the application behaves and defect is put on the back-burner. 2. New Product (innovation) being created which is not in the market and as there is no baseline to make a comparison , the target set internally by mgmt is to this level - Allowance of mistakes upto 5% 3. This could be a target of the customers in User Advanced Testing (UAT) environment before the software goes LIVE. 4. When we say defects, it not need be showstopper, it can be "cosmetic" changes which the customer may be ok to that.It could be look and feel , alignment issue ,etc.,.. This should answer your query i suppose. In my earlier comments, i requested you to visit those internet URLs to show how zero defect is being articulated there to buttress(suppport) my views and nothing else. Not sure why you are trying to pull others to support for this. Probably you got my intent wrong and hence this looks odd.
  9. R Rajesh

    Zero Defect - Debate

    Few things i want to mention. Reiterating what i told earlier . First of all the term Zero-defect is a motivational technique of management to do process improvement and in the process, minimise variation and try to achieve first time right. My point of contention is that we cannot achieve 'zero' defects in reality. Second thing is that, zero defect cannot vary from situation to situation as you specify. In that case, we are setting the SLA or target range which is the capability of the process that we operate. So even before we try to achieve the 100%, we say that we cannot achieve zero defects!! Why are we focusing on 85% efficiency ? Does it mean that its a limitation on the system , or is it the maximum capability of the process designed? If its the latter, then straight away we say zero defects cannot be achieved. If its the former, then technically speaking we cannot achieve zero defect, but we can find whether we are able to achieve that 85%. But we need to tell why that limitation is there. Suppose if customer is providing a specification as 95% , then if we are able to achieve that , then in that case also , we cannot say zero defects achieved. For instance, we have a new customer who is expecting 95% defect-free delivery of a software application, whereas the service provider provides a 98% defect-free software. The customer would still gleefully accept it though zero defect cannot be still achieved. A key point am trying to make is , if the voice of the process is only capable enough to 85% (in this case), then we can conclude that zero defects is straight-away not achievable. Hope this answers your queries. Fyi. I quoted the objective of Zero defect - when i mentioned about the "desires" - its not my desire but the desires of the management that wanted the process improvement through this zero concept, as seen in those URLs.
  10. R Rajesh

    Zero Defect - Debate

    Hi Vastupal Vashisth, I have never mentioned about anything about Process improvements being declared as management myth. Am Talking about the usage of the term "Zero Defect" . If all methodologies such as Six Sigma, lean techniques, and other methodologies talk about minimising variation, where is the need for this term to be highlighted and again say that this will help in reducing or minimising variation. This is what i refer here as management myth. This is a packaging technique to sell the idea so as to reach out to the employees of an oganisation. Am not saying this is a wrong way. It can provide the impetus to the team to do the process improvement initiatives, which is why management wants to have this , in my opinion. But does not mean that this will get converted into Zero defects ultimately. Hope this helps your questions/queries shooted By the way, Pls reread the URLs - they talk about the minimisation of defects and they do not dare to say about zero effects as the ultimate focus. It only talks about the desire to reach there(Zero defect). Ofcourse , everyone wants that way only. Who would want a defective outcome.
  11. R Rajesh

    Zero Defect - Debate

    All, i have one doubt on this slogan. Why do retail products especially grocery items (in most cases) have this line in their cover - "Products/goods sold once cannot be taken back" . Does it mean that they anticipate some defects and therefore, tell this in advance before the customer comes back to them. Anyways this line is against the Consumer Protection Act of India (CPI). But this is what my thought on the defects aspect !! Remember am not worried about from whom this msg is coming - the manufacturer or retail wholesaler or whoever it is. But what sort of confidence that it would give to the customer. Is that a sort of disclaimer told surreptitiously?
  12. R Rajesh

    Zero Defect - Debate

    1. W.r.t Cars, in general, there are regulatory compliance rules (fit for use cases) for the car makers in a given geographical region. So if the car design does not comply to this, post the manufacturing and delivery (say in , hundreds of cars) then they are defective ones . I was actualy referring to some cases in the past, especially korean make cars which had fire problems. So certainly not talking about wear and tyre which is a different issue. Leaving this, even safety bag not opening on time in many cars is also a defective case. 2. W.r.t Electrical work, good comparison of house vs organisation.Good point indeed. In my opinion, Cheaper quality alone/lack of right manpower cannot be the culprit though they can play a major role . However even if we put a proper quality materials with right set of people, you would probably end up with less or very minimal mistakes and the therefore, the system will not be fool proof. In an organisation, maintenance issues will be there. How many times we would have seen, short-circuiting happening and how electrical work gets impacted when it is raining . For instance, why do EB department switches off the power, when there is torrential rain or wind ? Do they not have a fool proof system. For Wind, we can say it as special causes .Can we say that for rain (as a special cause)? We have Rainy seasons. At times even for short rains also, power goes off. So why is it. The fear for the worst and is not inclined to take risk assessment on the existing system. 3. You are right that people need to raise concerns, which means you are agreeing to the fact that ATM is no more zero defect as its being conveyed in this forum :-). Valid point - that bank might think its 100% free, if they are not aware of that. There has been concerns raised in the past by many customers and some had even gone to consumer courts to file cases against the banks (Deficiency of service category). But also the onus is on the bank to see how its systems behave and whether the ATM achieves its purpose or not. Now let us also see about the power fluctuations that happen during ATM withdrawal or other money transactional operations. Most important thing that an ATM should do when power goes off is to ensure that its customer's transaction state remains the same as what was before he/she started to do the transaction, during which time the power actually went off. This is the key aspect of ACID (rollback the transaction made if it was mnade in the system). It does not matter to the ATM, whether it is a fault in it or outside it (but which impacts it). It need to ensure that the customer money(transaction) is intact. That is an ATM's key functionality.
  13. R Rajesh

    Zero Defect - Debate

    Hi Vastupal Vashisth, My point is who does not want a zero defect- Do anyone (customer)would like to have a defective item? Why we stress on Zero defect, when thats the norm or expecation from a customer , in every spehere of life? Because we cannot do 100% right anything (human issue primarily!!) So comes the Zero defect concept . Zero Defect (ZD) does not mean we achieve zero defects through that, but is a focussed attempt to improve your process to ensure that our service or product is less defective(minimising defects). Thats why i call it as a management myth. Just look at the definitions and the views on ZD on each of these below URLs as well on what they tell about ZD and you will get a good view of things. They augument my views. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Defects https://www.simplilearn.com/concept-of-zero-defects-quality-management-article https://www.isixsigma.com/new-to-six-sigma/sigma-level/zero-defects-what-does-it-achieve-what-does-it-mean/
  14. R Rajesh

    Zero Defect - Debate

    Hi Kavitha, 1. You might be aware - how many branded cars - failed because of flawed design - we can count on ...issues on air bags, catching fires while driving .... all these sort of news ... 'N' number of issues we can bring on here ... 2. W.r.t electrical work- good point. Most of the focus would be given on the shocks which is understandable. The question is that it is not fool proof as you would have seen in quite a few houses. Also if we talk about the error proofing in term of switches, not sure if you correlate this with things like auto-tripping when short-circuit happens. Due to short-circuit, fires can happen. Short-circuit is not an uncommon phenomenon. We can talk a lot about other Electricity issues especially rain happens and it leaks in houses!! From another angle, i would put my statement on this. I understand that you probably quoted this as an example , which is fine for which i provided my response . In my opinion, Electrical work being done in a single house is like an operation. Because of manual involvement and monotonous work, the chance of error making is more and is bound to happen. We are tying to say zero defects in terms of providing a service through a process here. Please consider this case, for an apartment which has say 100 houses. Now wiring needs to be given for all the houses of the apartment. Can this be defect free ? In that case and in my opinion, the chances are extremely slim , considering the challenges that i aforementioned and the issues getting multiplied and therefore, the Electrician would not be able to provide a 100% defect free service. 3. When we talk about the ATM - we talk about only Money withdrawal (predominantly) - and talk about its accuracy and say its defect free !! Agreed - because that is very critical. Few important things we need to know a). So the capability level for this aspect is set at a high level . [The same applies as well for the security aspect also - always asking your PIN] b). # a indicates that it is operating at higher sigma level - the failure rates may be extremely low. So still does not rule out the error possibility c). Additionally let us see some potential defective areas in ATM i). Because we use only withdrawals(most of the people at most of the times, some also do cash deposits , available in some ATMs), we are not bothered/focussed about some of the other functionalities that ATM does. For instance, how many people would have made complaints to bank that while withdrawing money in ATM (and when power goes off) , they would not receive money on hand (from ATM) , but they would get an alert msg in their mobile that their money got debited. This is due to a failure in ACID property which is key to the synchronization between the ATM Server and the database. Ideally rollback of the transaction should have happened when power goes off [Atomicity,Consistency,Isolation and Durability - ACID]. This has happened a lot across India in various banks' ATMS. ii). Even recently, when Aadhar card was added as part of ATM , instead of 12 fields of Aadhar, only 11 were there in some ATMs of few renowned banks. The point am making here is that as we human beings just go and use to deposit or withdraw money, for which the capability level is very high. So we are not able to fathom out its error level. May be experts or we doing a Monkey testing , which is done by doing random inputs as part of testing, can give us more insight into this . We should not rather do this Monkey testing on our own.
  15. R Rajesh

    Zero Defect - Debate

    Hi Kavitha. In those questions, we were trying to find the optimum ways of utilizing or cajoling the team to incorporate management/leadership team's mantra of process improvement activities which can help to achieve in zero defects. There are 2 things to be noted here. 1. Engaging the team was to create the mindset so that it sets into the DNA of the workforce. 2. Zero defects is a management myth to create a buzz. This is akin to.the saying " Aim at the star and shoot at the sky". So aim for the best and finally get closer to it. W.r.t 100 % quality, yes customer would be happy if he/she gets it but can the provider of a service or a product maker can confidently say that his/her process or product is 100% defect free and vouch for it before the service/product is delivered/created? Only tutorial centres will say (lie in most cases) that .. "Join us and we will make you pass. 100% guarantee" . Bottom line is a process or product cannot guarantee you 100% defect free service or product.