Ultimate Guide to DMAIC Process for Six Sigma | Hygger.io

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Ultimate Guide to DMAIC Process for Six Sigma

Ultimate Guide to DMAIC Process for Six Sigma

We can describe the meaning of Six Sigma quality improvement methodology in many details, however, it surprisingly can also be summarized in one word. It would be the acronym DMAIC. 

This post is aimed to give a brief description of the steps of the Six Sigma process. This overview of the method by which Six Sigma projects are completed will be focused on the key elements of DMAIC: define measure, analyze, improve, and control. Now let’s figure them out.

 

Six Sigma and DMAIC

Of course, DMAIC is not only an acronym. So, what is DMAIC? The acronym gives an accurate summary of the process, but this is only the beginning. 

The Six Sigma approach involves much more than an acronym can describe. The meaning of the DMAIC model is making continuous improvements to an existing process through problem-solving processes. Focusing on the process, the methodology is aimed to improve the quality of a product/service by concentrating not on the output but on the process that created the output. The main idea is that concentrating on processes leads to advanced and effective solutions.

 

Six Sigma DMAIC meaning

 

When do we use DMAIC?

The technique is used by project teams that are attempting to improve their existing processes. DMAIC Lean provides them with a structure as each process stage includes specific tasks and tools that will lead the teams to eventual solutions. 

The DMAIC framework is not strictly linear although the method is rather sequential. It encourages project managers (who surely dream of professional certification and getting Six Sigma belts) and their teams to backtrack to previous steps if more information is needed.

 

The importance of choosing the right project

Before you start working according to the DMAIC process, make sure you select an appropriate project.

Selecting the right project is the key moment of any process improvement effort. There are four basic rules capable to set you up for success with DMAIC:

  • Define the most obvious problem within an existing process.
  • Select the thing that would make a difference but would not be overly complex to address. It should be something meaningful but manageable.
  • Find the opportunity to reduce lead time or defects. It will result in cost savings or improved productivity.
  • Make sure you can collect data about the selected process.

After making sure you’ve selected a good project, you and your team can apply DMAIC Six Sigma tools to dig into process issues and deliver a sustainable outcome.

 

What are the Five Phases in the DMAIC Process?

 

What is DMAIC?

 

D – Define Question Mark on Google Android 11.0

To begin a project, you’ll need to create a team charter, and identify team members, choose the process the team will be improving, and define the key project’s objective. 

What problem are you going to fix? – this is the defining question. During this initial phase of the Lean Six Sigma improvement process, the project team also plots a high-level map of the process and clarifies the needs of the customers. The team refines the project focus and ensures they’re aligned with the goals. When creating the map of the process (that includes the process’s inputs and outputs) is completed, you can move to the next stage.

Frequently used tools:

 

M – Measure Triangular Ruler on Apple iOS 13.3

This stage is about creating and executing a data collection plan. It contains significant and reliable data that indicates how the process is performing and helps to define variance. After recognizing variance, the team’s efforts focus on it reducing or eliminating.

Measurement is a crucial point throughout the project life as it provides core indicators of process health and clues to where process issues are happening. 

Before moving on to the next phase, team members define their measures and define the current performance or the process baseline.

Frequently used tools:

  • Project charter
  • Data collection plan
  • Operational definitions
  • Check sheet

 

A – Analyze Magnifying Glass Tilted Right on Google Android 11.0

Right after the process performance, the analysis phase of the DMAIC Six Sigma approach helps in identifying possible causes of the problems. 

Here the main question is “What is causing the problem”? In order to identify the problems in the process, it is worth creating a sub-process map. Regression analysis and special tools will help narrow these problems to root causes. Without decent analysis, teams can implement solutions that don’t resolve their challenges. It only wastes time, consumes resources, and increases risks causing new problems. 

At this stage, the team can quantify the financial benefits of solving the problem.

Frequently used tools:

 

I – Improve Up Arrow on Google Android 11.0

How will your team fix the root causes of the problem? 

Once the root cause is defined, the improving stage focuses on finding a permanent solution to the current problem. This is the time for the team’s creativity aimed to find an answer to the process problem. The team should test a proposed solution and check if the solution is effective and financially viable.

Structured improvements can lead to innovative changes that will optimize the baseline measure and customer experience.

Frequently used tools:

 

C – Control Vertical Traffic Light on Google Android 11.0

The final phase lets the team document the new solution that they have created to pass it on to process owners. Then the team implements this solution in accordance with the project timeline and key milestones.

After the solution implementation, the project team tracks it for several months. In case it meets performance expectations, they turn it over to the process owner.

Frequently used tools:

  • Control plan (or a control chart)
  • Monitoring and response plan
  • Innovation transfer opportunities
  • Gallery walks
  • Documentation

 

DMAIC process definition

 

Takeaways

  • DMAIC projects are aimed to solve problems that exist within an organization.
  • DMAIC methodology includes five consequent phases. Each phase plays an essential role in the problem-solving methodology of DMAIC.
  • Looking for the right DMAIC problem-solving project, first identify the problem, filter the projects, and organize a project selection workshop with the team.
  • Refine the projects if needed by using project selection tools.

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