The Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) methodology can be thought of as a roadmap for problem solving and product/process improvement. Most companies begin implementing Six Sigma using the DMAIC methodology, and later add the DFSS (Design for Six Sigma, also known as DMADV or IDDOV) methodologies when the organizational culture and experience level permits. You can read the main differences between DMAIC and DMADV, but we’ll focus on the DMAIC in this article.
While the DMAIC methodology presented below may appear linear and explicitly defined, it should be noted that an iterative approach may be necessary. For instance, you may find that upon analyzing your data (Analyze phase) you did not gather enough data to isolate the root cause of the problem. At this point, you may iterate back to the Measure phase. In addition, prior knowledge of the tools and techniques is necessary in determining which tools are useful in each phase. Remember, the appropriate application of tools becomes more critical for effectiveness than correctness, and you don’t need to use all the tools all the time.