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Six Sigma

We know that everything in business is a process, right? Sales people have a list of companies and contacts that they work in a certain fashion to produce a sale, production receives an order and schedules the manufacturing, the product is built, packaged, shipped and invoiced. When the packing department has a problem with their process, though, should they fix it with a DMAIC or DMADV (also referred to as DFSS) type project?

The Similarities of DMAIC and DMADV
Let's first look at the DMAIC and DMADV methodologies and talk about how they're alike. DMAIC and DMADV are both:
  1. Six Sigma methodologies used to drive defects to less than 3.4 per million opportunities.
  2. Data intensive solution approaches. Intuition has no place in Six Sigma -- only cold, hard facts.
  3. Implemented by Green Belts, Black Belts and Master Black Belts.
  4. Ways to help meet the business/financial bottom-line numbers.
  5. Implemented with the support of a champion and process owner.

  The Differences of DMAIC and DMADV

DMAIC and DMADV sound very similar, don't they? The acronyms even share the first three letters. But that's about where the similarities stop.


  • Define
  •  Measure
  •  Analyze
  •  Improve
  •  Control
 Define the project goals and customer (internal and external) deliverables

 Measure the process to determine current performance

 Analyze and determine the root cause(s) of the defects

 Improve the process by eliminating defects

 Control future process performance

When To Use DMAIC

The DMAIC methodology, instead of the DMADV methodology, should be used when a product or process is in existence at your company but is not meeting customer specification or is not performing adequately.

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Design
  • Verify
Define the project goals and customer (internal and external) deliverables

 Measure and determine customer needs and specifications

 Analyze the process options to meet the customer needs

 Design (detailed) the process to meet the customer needs

 Verify the design performance and ability to meet customer needs

When To Use DMADV

The DMADV methodology, instead of the DMAIC methodology, should be used when:

 A product or process is not in existence at your company and one needs to be developed

 The existing product or process exists and has been optimized (using either DMAIC or not) and still doesn't meet the level of customer specification or six sigma level
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