DMAIC Methodology

28 Feb 2017, Continuous improvement

In last issue of Shared Word we have informed about history and key roles in  Lean Six Sigma. Today, we would like to provide you with more information regarding Lean Six Sigma methodology.

The Six Sigma methodology for improvement projects is DMAIC. This methodology is used to improve an existing business process. DMAIC is an acronym for five interconnected phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

The first step is Define. In this phase, the leaders of the project create a “Project Charter”, create a high-level view of the process, and begin to understand the needs of the customers of the process. This is a critical phase of Lean Six Sigma in which the teams define the outline of their efforts for themselves and the leadership (executives) of its organization.

Project team

Picking the right team members can be a difficult decision, especially if a project involves a large number of departments. Are there people close to the issue who can spend time working on the issue? Is there someone in a leadership position who would like to see the issue resolved? It is critical to have some form of team leader (also known as a Black Belt or Green Belt), as well as someone in a leadership position, who is called a Sponsor or Project Champion, involved with the project. Team members can come from different areas but should all have some connection to the project area.

Document customers core business processes

Every project has customers. A customer is the recipient of the product or service of the process targeted for improvement. Every customer has one or multiple needs from his or her supplier. For each need provided for, there are requirements for the need. The requirements are the characteristics of the need that determine whether the customer is happy with the product or service provided.

SIPOC process map

A process is defined as the series of steps and activities that take inputs, add value, and produce an output.

SIPOC is a high level process map that identifies all the following elements of a project: Suppliers, Input, Process, Output, Customers.

The SIPOC process map is essential for identifying the way processes occur currently and how those processes should be modified and improved throughout the remaining phases of DMAIC.


Example of SIPOC process map

Project charter

This is a document that names the project, summarizes the project by explaining the business case in a brief statement, and lists the project scope and goals. A project charter can have following components: project name; business case; project scope; project goals; milestones; special requirements; special assumptions; roles and responsibilities of the project team.

The conclusion of the define phase should be knowledge who the customer or end user is and their requirements. Clear understanding of goals and the scope of the project including budget, and timeline should be achieved.

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