DMAIC is Six Sigma’s signature framework for process improvement. DMAIC provides a structured way of improving a process.

DMAIC Overview Video

Dive deeper into DMAIC

DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve Control) addresses the improvement of an already existing process.

Phases of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control)

*Note how this is reminiscent of the Deming wheel or Shewhart Wheel: Plan-Do-Study-Act)

No phases of DMAIC should be skipped.

History of DMAIC

Michel Harry & Bill Smith created “MAIC” – the methodology that evolved to become DMAIC.

Harry includes the following strategy elements in the traditional approach to six sigma:

  • (R) Recognize the true state of your business
  • (S) Standardize the systems that prove to be best-in-class
  • (I) Integrate best-in-class systems into the strategic planning framework.

Useful DMAIC Links

DMAIC Phases Videos

Six Sigma Tools Walkthrough

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

Project Management

Current State Process Analysis

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.’
  • Analyze VOC

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.

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.

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.

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.

DMAIC Tollgate Reviews

You’ll typically review progress regularly with your sponsors. This kind of review, especially when ending one phase and moving on to the next, is called a Tollgate review.

Learn more about DMAIC tollgate reviews here.

Helpful Six Sigma Tools Videos

What Makes a Good DMAIC Project?

What Makes a Good DMAIC Project Videos

What Makes a Good DMAIC Project? Notes

Helpful links:

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