6 Sigma DMAIC


DMAIC is a structured problem-solving methodology widely used in business. The letters are an acronym for the five phases of Six Sigma improvement: Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control. These phases lead a team logically from defining a problem through implementing solutions linked to underlying causing, and establish best practices to make sure the solutions stay in place. The structure of DMAIC encourages creative thinking within boundaries such as keeping the basic process, product, or service. If your process is so badly broken that you need to start over from scratch or if you’re designing a new product, service, or process, use Design for Lean Six Sigma (DMEDI).  











Project charter


Detailed value stream


Decide key process, input and output


Potential solutions


Mistake proofing

Target review


Identify key input ,process, output


List potential root cause


Best practices



Customer feedback


Operational definitions


Reduce list of potential root causes


Develop to be value stream map.


Process control and condition management

Financial benefit


Data collection plan


Confirm root cause effect on output


Pilot implementation


Implementation solutions and measuring

High level value stream map and scope


Validate measurement system


Estimate impact of root causes on key outputs


Confirm attainment of project goal


New opportunities

Communication plan


Collect baseline data


Prioritize root causes


Rollout plan


Lessons learnt

Team building


Process capability






Skill matrix

General plan









Gate summary


Gate summary


Gate Summary


Gate summary


Gate summary

        Two primary options for implementing DMAIC:

  • Project-team approach

Black Belts deployed full-time to projects

Team members work on the project part-time-work on the project is interspersed with regular work.

Full involvement by all team members in all phases of DAMIC

Duration can be 1 to 4 months depending on scope

  • Kaizen approach

Rapid (1 week or less), intense progress through all of DMAIC except full-scale implementation

Preparatory work on Define, and sometimes on Measure, done by a subgroup (team leader and a Black belt, for instance)

Rest of work done by the full group during several days or a week when they work ONLY on the project (Participants are pulled off their regular jobs)

        Two indicators that you should follow all of DMAIC:

  1. Problem is complex: Need to involve different people in different level or departments.
  2. Solution risks are high:May affect current process, customer, product or service.

It is human nature to want to jump to solutions and quickly make the improvement. If you think you have an obvious solution with minimal risks, you can try skipping some of the DMAIC steps. But before you do so, ask:

  1. What data do I have to show that this idea is the best possible solution?
  2. How do I know that the solution will really solve the targeted problem?
  3. What possible downsides are there to the solution idea?

If you get the negative answers to the above mentioned questions, you need to work through all the DMAIC phases.