When I was learning Six Sigma it was just a massive amount of information. This Six Sigma Tools Walkthrough is a great way to get started to see how the pieces fit together. This page lists the major components of Six Sigma, the tools you apply in each phase, and a few other bits that help bring it all together.

While I’ve made Six Sigma study guides for each of the major organizations’ certification exams (Green Belt: ASQ, IASSC, Villanova | Black Belt: ASQ, IASSC, and Villanova), I don’t find that their organization of topics is the best way for me to learn the material. Nor do I find their presentation to be the best way for me to see how each tool fits into the overall picture.

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## Define Phase Six Sigma Tools

Use this phase to qualify a project to see if it is worth doing, if it is a good fit for the Six Sigma approach, and to set the stage for the project. Like a good reporter, learn the background of what is being asked and focus on the 5Ws – Who, What, When, Where, and Why. This becomes evident when you use the tools below to identify scope, goals, and rationale.

### Project Selection

- Select a project with needs and criteria that are appropriate for using DMAIC.
- Project Cost/Benefit Analysis (CBA)
- Project Charter

### Project Management

- Project Plan & Project Tracking Tools
- Gantt Chart
- Tracking Reporting and Corrective Action System (TRaCAS)
- Project Priority Matrix
- Project Responsibility Matrix

- Commitment Scale
- Stakeholder Analysis
- Communication Plan

### Current State Process Analysis

- Flow Chart
- Swim Lane Flow Chart
- Input-Output (IPO) Model
- SIPOC
- High level process map

- Process Mapping
- Rolled Thoughput Yield (RTY)

### Voice of Client

- Get Voice of Client with these tools
- Proactive
- Net Promoter score
- Hotlines
- Focus Groups
- Interviews
- Surveys
- Comment cards
- Marketing research
- Notes from front-line crew (sometimes from Kaizen activities)
- Website activity (see where people actually go, rather then where they were ‘supposed to go.’)
- Pilot / beta tests

- Reactive
- Customer complaints
- Help desk calls / emails /Tech support cals
- Sales data (or returns / refunds/ warrant claims)

- Context dependent
- Observation: “Go to the Gemba”
- Most of the time this is considered proactive because you are looking to get ahead and prevent issues. However, I’ve seen in real-life practice that many people launch this activity as a result of being made aware of problems. This is a wonderful tool if used in a pro-active sense. This is a poor tool if used in the ‘witch hunting sense.’

- Observation: “Go to the Gemba”

- Proactive
- Analyze VOC
- Affinity Diagrams
- Kano Diagrams
- VOC summary
- Critical
- Critical to Customer
- CTQ requirements (critical to the process to achieve the CTCs)
- Critical-to-Quality Tree

- Specification Limits
- House of Quality

## Measure Phase Six Sigma Tools

Now that we have the project identified, take the lessons learned from the first phase and get the ‘real story’ behind the current state by gathering data and interpreting what the current process is really capable of.

- Detailed Process Analysis
- Data Collection
- Data Collection Plan
- Identify data collection goals
- Develop operational definitions
- Create a sampling plan
- Select & validate data collection methods
- Data collection form

- Plan for and begin collecting data.
- Data Collection check sheets.
- Defect Location Check Sheet
- Two-Way Check Sheet
- Check Sheets: Five Basic Types

- Measurement System Analysis (MSA).

- Data Collection check sheets.

- Data Collection Plan
- Data Organization / Data Display / Data Patterns
- Select the right tool to identify the data patterns and to display your data.
- Time Plot
- Control Chart (see Control Phase for greater detail)
- Frequency Plots
- Box Plot
- Dot Plot
- Histogram
- Cell Intervals: Impact on Shape
- Cell Intervals: Rules of Thumb

- Stem and Leaf

- Spaghetti Diagram
- Pareto Chart
- Identify the variation & sources of process problems
- Data stratification

- Select the right tool to identify the data patterns and to display your data.
- Process Sigma calculation.
- Revisit the operational definitions and specify what are defects and which are opportunities.
- Calculate the baseline process sigma
- DPU
- DPMO
- DPMO to Sigma Level Relationship
- Standard Deviation
- Six Steps to Calculation
- Description and Example

- Standard Deviation

- DPMO to Sigma Level Relationship
- PPM

## Analyze Phase Six Sigma Tools

Now that we have the data let’s use it to identify the root causes that are at the heart of what we want to fix.

- List Potential Causes
- Value Added / Non Value Added Analysis
- Root Cause Analysis
- Brainstorm potential causes
- Organize the potential causes to show relationships
- Check the logic
- Prioritize final list

- Data Analysis & Results
- This is where we use various methods and mathematical tools to verify our assumptions. We can also use the advanced techniques to compare data against each other and even to make predictions.

- Mathematical Tools
- Central Limit Theorem
- Distribution Types
- Normal Probability
- F Distribution
- Hypergeometric Distribution
- Binomial Probability Distribution
- Analyzing Bivariate Data:
- Income Example
- Cost vs. Billed Hours Example

- Exponential Distribution
- Coffee Example
- Reliability Example

- Lognormal Distribution
- Poisson Distribution
- Cumulative Poisson Distribution

- Student’s t Distribution

- Data Tests
- F Test for Variance
- Paired t-Test
- Two-sample t-test
- Test for Equal Variances
- Chi-Square
- Graphical Analysis
- Box and Whiskers Plot
- Radar Chart
- Linear Regression

- Hypothesis Testing
- Decision Tree
- Type I and Type II Errors in Hypothesis Testing
- P-Values
- ANOVA
- ANOVA: One-Way
- One-Way Manufacturing Example
- One-Way Service Example
- One-Way Productivity Example

- ANOVA: Two-Way

- ANOVA: One-Way

- Design of Experiments
- Design of Experiments (DOE) Terminology
- Designed Experiment
- Response Variable
- Factors and Levels
- Design Matrix
- Effect
- Interaction
- Randomization and Replication

- Plots
- Main Effects Plot
- Interaction Plot

- Factorial Designs
- DOE Strategy for Experimentation: Full Factorial
- Illustration
- Full Factorial Example

- DOE: Determining Statistical Significance
- Fractional Factorial Designs
- Example

- Strategy for Experimentation: Screening Designs
- Blocking
- Design Resolution
- Standard Order of Design Matrix
- DOE: Illustration of F Ratio Test
- DOE: Taguchi Loss Function
- DOE: Evolutionary Operations (EVOP)
- DOE: Graeco-Latin Square Design
- DOE: Hyper-Graeco-Latin Square
- DOE: Latin Square
- Finding a Z Score
- Weibull Analysis

- Design of Experiments (DOE) Terminology

- Process Capability
- Cp and Pp Process Potential Indices

- Cpk and Ppk Process Capability Indices
- Cp and Cpk: Formulas
- Cpk to DPMO Conversion Chart
- Pp and Ppk: Example
- Pp and Ppk: Formulas
- Sigma to Ppk Conversion Chart
- Ppk to PPM/DPMO Conversion Chart

- Deliverables
- List of potential causes
- Data Analysis and results
- “Vital few” x’s

## Improve Phase Six Sigma Tools

Armed with the data analysis we can now may informed decisions to develop a solution. Best practices include running a pilot to ensure success and validate our conclusions.

- Identifying Solutions
- Lean
- Pull System
- Value Stream Mapping

- Kanban
- Kanban in Assembly
- Kanban in a Hospital
- Kanban in a Law Office
- Pull System Using Kanban Cards
- Pull System Without Kanban Cards

- Cellular Manufacturing
- 5S
- 5S in Manufacturing
- 5S in an Office Environment

- Kaizen
- Visual Workplace
- Takt Time Ebb and Flow
- Poka-Yoke
- Quick Changeover
- Brainstorming
- Lean Accounting
- Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)
- DMADV
- Design for X

- Lean
- Proposed Solution
- Identifying Potential Solution Relationships
- Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
- Solutions Priority Matrix
- Cost-Benefit Analysis (revisit)
- Matrix Diagram
- L-Shaped
- X-Shaped
- Y-Shaped

- Organizing the Project / Process Completion (7M Tools)
- Process Decision Program Charts (PDPC)
- Tree Diagram
- Activity Network Diagram
- Prioritization Matrix
- Effort/Impact Matrix

- Pilot plan
- Implementation Plan

- Identifying Potential Solution Relationships

## Control Phase Six Sigma Tools

Now let’s bring those improvements to life. Be certain that the improvements lead to solutions that are sustainable and enable continuous improvement.

- Control Plan
- 1.5 Sigma Shift

- Standard Operating Procedures / Standard Practices
- Training materials and job aids

- Run Chart
- Basic Construction
- Shifts
- Trends

- Control Chart
- Construction
- Formulas for Centerlines
- Measurement Discrimination
- Formulas for Control Limits
- Shewhart
- Shewhart’s Test for a Natural/Normal Pattern #1
- Shewhart’s Test for a Natural/Normal Pattern #2
- Shewhart’s Test for Outliers
- Shewhart’s Test for Runs #1
- Shewhart’s Test for Runs #2
- Shewhart’s Test for Runs #3
- Shewhart’s Test for a Sudden and Drastic Shift in Level
- Shewhart’s Test for a Stable Mixture
- Shewhart’s Test for an Unstable Mixture
- Shewhart’s Test for a Repeating Pattern/Cycle
- Shewhart’s Test for a Trend/Gradual Change in Level

- x-bar and R Control
- Formulas and Factors for X-Bar: Sigma Control Charts

- Moving Average Chart
- Rational Subgroup
- X-MR
- X-MR (I-MR)
- S Chart:
- Basic Idea
- Exceeding Control Limits
- Runs
- Trends
- Cycling
- Zone Analysis

- Exponentially Weighted Moving Average (EWMA)
- Attribute Control Charts
- Cumulative Sum (CUSUM)