Instantis, a provider of software for managing top-down performance improvement initiatives like Six Sigma, announced on March 26 that it has completed and made available for immediate download on the results of a ground-breaking study on Six Sigma adoption patterns and maturity levels within large enterprises.


The study was conducted via an online survey during a four-month period starting in October 2006. A total of 105 organizations responded to the survey. The respondent pool consisted of Six Sigma professionals (master black belts, black belts and Six Sigma experts), senior directors and functional managers of quality assurance, operations and supply chain, as well executives and deployment leaders. In addition, respondents represented all major industries and geographies (Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific).


Among the key findings of the study:

  • The Six Sigma community is less than halfway through its collective journey. On a scale of 1 to 5, the average maturity level of respondent organizations was 2.7 with a standard deviation of 1.25.
  • The level of leadership support for Six Sigma is highly correlated with overall maturity level (Pearson Coefficient of 0.74).
  • It takes at least four years for organizations to achieve Six Sigma "institutionalization."
  • Crossing the chasm from Scale Replication to Institutionalization and Cultural Transformation typically involves a dramatic acceleration in the number of black belts (from an average of 30 to hundreds or even thousands).
  • As Six Sigma maturity level increases, so does the adoption and/or integration of Lean manufacturing principles.

Instantis published the original Instantis Six Sigma Maturity Model (iSSMM) in September 2006, which defines five commonly experienced stages of Six Sigma maturity including Launch, Early Success, Scale & Replication, Institutionalization and Cultural Transformation. The intent of the model is to help Six Sigma practitioners, deployment leaders and executives to benchmark their progress against industry norms, assess implementation strengths and performance gaps and anticipate common adoption pitfalls.


A key goal of the Six Sigma maturity model study was to provide Six Sigma practitioners with real-world data from their peers regarding Six Sigma deployment critical success and failure factors across industries. A further goal was to validate and further refine the model in order to help guide organizations on their Six Sigma journey. The findings of the study will be incorporated into Version 2.0 of the model.


"In general, the hypothesized state of maturity described by the iSSMM model for each of the five levels of maturity was validated by the study results," said Wayne Caccamo, marketing vice president at Instantis. "We also found areas where companies were generally more mature or less mature than what the iSSMM model predicts. This will help us fine-tune our model and make it an even more powerful benchmarking and assessment engine."


Instantis is the leading provider of on-demand software for managing top- down initiatives to improve financial performance and achieve operational excellence. Leading global corporations like Credit Suisse, France Telecom, Eli Lilly, McKesson, Motorola and Xerox rely on Instantis software to manage strategy and project portfolio execution for initiatives like Six Sigma, lean, IT, new product development and others.