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01 Dec 09 Six Sigma Methodologies

In the previous post, very basics of 6 Sigma, we saw what 6 sigma is, what is its governing principle, and what it is set to achieve. In this part, we will see the two different methodologies namely DMAIC and DMADV that 6 Sigma projects employ. DMAIC is used when the business needs to improve an existing business process, whereas, DMADV is used when the business needs to create a new product or process design. Each one of them consists of five phases.


  • D: Define the problem in the business process. In this step, the problem definition takes into account the customer’s concern and the business goal to achieve.
  • M: In this step the important aspects of existing business process is measured, and relevant data is collected. This is further used as the baseline.
  • A: The data collected in M phase is analyzed, and causal relationship (cause and effect) is established between the various factors. One should consider all factors. The root cause of the defect (problem) is found.
  • I: Improve. Improving or optimizing the process is undertaken in this phase. For this the data gathered is analyzed using techniques like design of experiments, standard work, and poka yoke or mistake proofing and future state process is created.
  • C: Control. To avoid any costly defect or loss of quality, it is important for a business to ascertain that it can control and correct any deviations that might happen from the target.


  • D: In this stage, the design goal is defined, which is consistent with your business strategy and client’s demand.
  • M: Product capabilities, production process capabilities, characteristics of CTQs (critical to quality), and risks are identified in this phase.
  • A: Analyze. In this phase different design alternatives are developed. The best design is selected in this phase after careful evaluation of design capability.
  • D: Design. In this step the design is optimized and detailed. Design verification also takes plade here. Depending upon the need, multiple design simulation is run in this phase.
  • V: Verify. The design is verified, and pilot runs are done to check for the consistency after the production process is implemented followed by handing over of design to process owner.
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