A friend and colleague who knows I write a Six Sigma blog sent me a link to an older article on PC World, The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time that he thought might applicable to Six Sigma.
As first blush, I thought, “What an article on PCWorld.com on the Worst Tech products would have anything to do with Six Sigma?” The answer . . . everything! Particularly after reading the piece, the number 1 or worst product of all time (in their eyes) is American Online. I agree AOL has had its difficulties, but one has to admit the service has had staying power despite this. It’s been around for 20 years, which is a lifetime in the computer world. I don’t know if they utilized Voice of the Customer (VOC) , but they did something right since they are still around.
The article mentions AOL had shown improvements over the previous years. This goes to show us, they had a good idea, but took many years to sort out the bugs and for them to position themselves correctly. At the time of initial development they probably didn’t utilize Design for Six Sigma or another Critical Parameter development methodology, but it appears they may have implemented Lean Six Sigma principles to improve their “inexcusably poor customer service,” “inaccessible dial-up numbers,” and what I’ll call “flawed billing practices.” Please know I am not necessarily agreeing with the article, or being an advocate for AOL, I’m simply pointing out how the company has appeared to have improved its product and service over time.
One can only hope and assume that companies are doing a better job up front vetting their ideas, products and designs . . . with sound initiatives such as Design for Six Sigma. If not, hopefully we won’t seem the on PC World’s next “worst of” list.
If you would like to learn more about Design for Six Sigma, May I recommend either of these two free webinars: