Six Sigma is perhaps one of the best known improvement management tools in use around the world today – While Six Sigma is known for its use of statistics (which can turn some business executives off the power of the toolset) at its heart is a couple of simple methodologies DMAIC and DMADV – which look at “fixing” broken processes and building “new” processes respectively.

As an improvement methodology Six Sigma seeks to remove defects and the causes of defects from business processes. In the case of improving existing processes DMAIC offers a structured series of steps to follow which should if followed correctly bring about the desired outcome

DMAIC’s five steps are:

• Define – Define goals in line with customer and strategic requirement – Basically define the goals that the improvement program will deliver.
• Measure – Collect data and measure the state of the current process (e.g. collect defect information and statistical evidence)
• Analyze – Analyze the data collected at measure stage and identify causal issues of the process problems – typically this will be defining cause and effect relationships (i.e. finding the parts of the process that can be changed to affect the desired outcome)
• Improve – Change and improve the process to produce the desired outcome
• Control – Implement the new process and establish appropriate controls to ensure that the new process is sustained and that mechanisms (i.e. Measures and metrics) are set up to monitor the process.

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