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Six Sigma Methodology

The Six Sigma methodology is conceptually rooted in the principals of a five phase project. Each phase has a specific purpose and specific tools & techniques which aid in achieving the phase objectives. When properly followed, these 5 project phases will almost always lead the Six Sigma professional to significant conclusions

The 5 Phases of the Six Sigma Methodology: DMAIC

  1. Define Phase
  2. Measure Phase
  3. Analyze Phase
  4. Improve Phase
  5. Control Phase

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Define Phase Goals

The goal of Define is to establish the projects foundation. This is arguably the most important aspect of any Six Sigma project.

All successful projects start with a current state challenge or problem that can be articulated in a quantifiable manner. Additionally, it is not enough to just know the problem, you'll also determine the goal.

Once problems and goals are identified and quantified the rest of the define phase will be about valuation, team, scope, project planning, time line, stakeholders, VOC/ VOB etc.

Define Phase Tools

  • Project Charter
    • Problem Statement
    • Business Case
    • Objective
    • High level time line
    • Project Scope
    • Project Team
  • Stakeholder Assessment
  • Pareto Charts
  • SIPOC
  • VOC/VOB & CTQ's
  • High Level Process Map

Measure Phase Goals

The goal of the Measure phase is to gather baseline information about your process or product.

Throughout the measure phase you will seek to achieve a few important objectives:

  • Gather All possible x's
  • Analyze your measurement system & Data Collection Requirements
  • Validate Assumptions
  • Validate Improvement Goals
  • Determine COPQ
  • Refine Process Understanding
  • Determine Process Capability
  • Process Stability

Measure Phase Tools

  • Any Appropriate Tool from Previous Phase
  • Process Maps, Value Stream Mapping
  • Failure Modes & Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Cause & Effect Diagram
  • XY Matrix
  • Basic Control Charts
  • Six Sigma Statistics
    • Basic Statistics
    • Descriptive Statistics
    • Normal Distributions
    • Graphical Analysis
  • Measurement Systems Analysis
    • Variable Gage R&R
    • Attribute Gage R&R
    • Gage Linearity & Accuracy
    • Gage Stability
  • Process Capability (Cpk, Ppk) & Sigma
  • Data collection plan

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Analyze Phase Goals

The Analyze phase is all about establishing verified drivers. In the Six Sigma methodology, Analyze uses statistics and higher order analytics to discover the fact-based relationship between the your process performance and the x's (in other words, what are the root causes or drivers of your improvement effort). Ultimately, you must establish a hypothesis for your improvement solutions.

  • Establish Transfer Function Y=f(x)
  • Validated List of Critical X's & Impacts
  • Beta Improvement Plan (e.g. Pilot Plan)

Analyze Phase Tools

  • Any Appropriate Tool from Previous Phase
  • Hypothesis Testing
  • Simple Linear Regression
  • Multiple Regression

Improve Phase Goals

The goal of the Improve phase is .......you guessed it! "make the improvement". Improve is about designing, testing and implementing your solution. To this point you have defined the problem and objective of the project, brainstormed possible x's, analyzed and verified critical x's and now it's time to make it real!

  • Statistically Proven Results from Active Study/Pilot
  • Improvement/Implementation Plan
  • Updated Stakeholder Assessment
  • Revised Business Case with Investment ROI
  • Risk Assessment/Updated FMEA
  • New Process Capability & Sigma

Improve Phase Tools

  • Any Appropriate Tool from Previous Phase
  • Design of Experiment (DOE)
  • Implementation Plan
  • Change Plan
  • Communication Plan

Control Phase Goals

The last of the 5 core phases of the Six Sigma methodology is the Control phase. The goal of Control is establish automated and managed mechanisms to maintain and sustain your improvement.

A successful control plan also establishes a reaction & mitigation plan along as well as an accountability structure.

Control Phase Tools:

  • Control Plan
  • Training Plans
  • Poka-Yoke and/or Audit Plans
  • Translation Plan - How can this be translated to others

The Six Sigma methodology is a complete system with tools and techniques built-in which ensures any adept Six Sigma practitioner who follows the methodology will find success.

Below is an image of a one page summary of the Six Sigma methodology. This roadmap is one of our free templates that you can download through our store. It's also included in our tools & templates bundle.

Six Sigma Roadmap

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