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Six Sigma is a business management strategy that was initially developed by Motorola in the 1980s, which is used by many Fortune 500 companies. To begin with, DMAIC (pronounced as dah-MAY-ik) is data-driven quality strategy used to improve processes. It is an integral part of a Six Sigma initiative, but in general can be implemented as a standalone quality improvement procedure or as part of other process improvement initiatives such as lean.


The DMAIC Methodology

DMAIC is an acronym for the five phases that make up the process:

Firstly, define the problem, improvement activity, opportunity for improvement, the project goals, and customer (internal and external) requirements. Next, measure process performance. After measurement, one should analyze the process to determine root causes of variation, poor performance (defects).
Hence, one can improve process performance by addressing and eliminating the root causes. Last but not the least, control the improved process and future process performance.

It is a tool for improving an existing process. The steps can be summarized as follows.


State the problem, specify the customer set, identify the goals, and outline the target process.

The main objective of this stage is to outline the borders of the project.

Stakeholders agree on the parameters that will define the project
Scope and budgetary items, as well as customer needs, are in line with project goals
Team development takes place as the project begins to take shape


Decide what parameters need to be quantified, work out the best way to measure them, collect the necessary data, and carry out the measurements by experiment.

The main objective is to collect data pertinent to the scope of the project.

Leaders collect reliable baseline data to compare against future results
Teams create a detailed map of all interrelated business processes to elucidate areas of possible performance enhancement


Identify gaps between actual and goal performance, determine causes of those gaps. Then, determine how process inputs affect outputs, and rank improvement opportunities.

The main objective is to reveal the root cause of business inefficiencies.

Analysis of data reveals areas where the implementation of change can provide the most effective results
Groups discuss ways that the data underscores areas ripe for improvement


Devise potential solutions, identify solutions that are easiest to implement, test hypothetical solutions, and implement actual improvements.


The main objective at the end of this stage is to complete a test run of a change that one can implement widely.

Teams and stakeholders devise methods to address the process deficiencies uncovered during the data analysis process
Groups finalize and test a change that is to mitigate the ineffective process
Improvements are ongoing and include feedback analysis and stakeholder participation.


Generate a detailed solution monitoring plan, observe implemented improvements for success. Thus, update plan records on a regular basis, and maintain a workable employee training routine.

The objective of the last stage of the methodology is to develop metrics that help leaders monitor and document continued success.

Six Sigma strategies are adaptive and on-going.
Make adjustments and implement new changes as a result of the completion of this first cycle of the process.
DMAIC is to regain control. It is similar to the Six Sigma process called Sigma DMADV but not the same. Moreover, DMADV stands for “define, measure, analyze, design, verify.” This set of steps is applied to new processes to make sure that they achieve Six Sigma quality. We’ll learn about this process in the next article.

Six Sigma methodologies are now prevalent in many disciplines throughout the world.

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