Understanding the Steps in Six Sigma DMAIC

DMAIC refers to the inter-related processes involved in implementing Six Sigma projects.  It stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.  These five key elements of Six Sigma are essential steps to ensure the success of development and improvement projects. 

Project definition investigates the client needs and their product or service specifications. The critical business processes involved to address these needs are also investigated and should be properly defined.  It is important also that the limitations of the project be defined and finally, plans for developing the processes should be created.

After the definition stage, the next phase should measure business process performance.  This stage is data intensive because it involves the application of several data gathering strategies to concretely determine the actual performance of each component processes involved in the project.  Investigations should also be carried out to measure the level of defects that need to be addressed.

Analysis comes in after data has been collected.  Different processes should be analyzed in order to determine their performance against the specified development plan.  This step also identifies the root cause of defects.  Improvement opportunities should be recommended and incorporated in the corrective action plans.

The improvement stage is solution driven.  Important business solutions to correct process defects are implemented.  The solutions should be concrete steps that could correct weaknesses in the process flow.

The final step is control which simply means keeping the project in the right path.  Mechanisms should be in place such as documentations of process standards in order to avoid defective business processes.