DMAIC Methodology

DMAIC represents a structured, systematic and data-driven problem solving methodology focused on driving breakthrough improvements of existing processes. DMAIC is an acronym for the following five phases of Six Sigma improvement: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. As the backbone of Six Sigma, DMAIC enables a wide variety of organizations to identify, test and refine permanent solutions to recurring or highly complex problems. The five interconnected DMAIC phases should be rigorously followed, particularly if the root causes of problems are not apparent, potential loss exposures for the organization are significant, solutions are unknown, or the safety of patients, staff and visitors may be at risk. Since DMAIC does take time, effort and resources, some of the phases may be skipped if there is an obvious solution to the problem based on reliable data or the risks are negligible and contingency plans for potential unintended outcomes are in place. In combination with Lean tools and techniques DMAIC provides a synergistic, integrated and highly effective approach to organizational performance improvement.




No. Phase Description
1 Define
  • Clearly define the problem or improvement opportunity
  • Use existing data to estimate the financial impact
  • Identify key stakeholders and agree on the project boundaries
  • Actively seek the Voice of the Customer (VOC)
  • Determine Critical to Quality (CTQ) requirements
  • Develop Project Charter and create Communication Plan
  • Establish interprofessional project team
  • Create high-level process map of the existing process
  • Complete Define phase gate review
2 Measure
  • Create detailed Value Stream Map (VSM) of the existing process
  • Identify Key Process Input and Output Variables (KPIVs and KPOVs)
  • Identify valid, reliable and cost-effective methods of data collection
  • Develop an optimal data collection and sampling plan
  • Perform Measurement System Analysis (MSA)
  • Collect data and measure baseline process performance
  • Assess process capability
  • Complete Measure phase gate review
3 Analyze
  • Identify the critical or “vital few” process inputs that drive performance
  • Review the past and current process performance data
  • Measure, model and analyze relationships between specific variables
  • Perform hypothesis testing and use appropriate statistical tools
  • Perform Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
  • Perform Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Identify major sources of waste in a value stream
  • Complete Analyze phase gate review
4 Improve
  • Identify a wide range of potential solutions
  • Prioritize and select the best feasible solutions
  • Plan and conduct Design of Experiments (DOE) as required
  • Perform pilot testing and evaluate effectiveness of the selected solutions
  • Optimize the final solution and develop a large-scale implementation plan
  • Create Value Stream Map (VSM) of the new and improved process
  • Identify, analyze and mitigate remaining risks
  • Complete Improve phase gate review
5 Control
  • Introduce appropriate Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Review and re-evaluate measurement system capability
  • Design and apply error proofing and visual management techniques
  • Create Process Control Plan and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Develop and deploy training plans to sustain improvements
  • Document, review and share the lessons learned from all DMAIC phases
  • Identify opportunities to spread the outcomes across the organization
  • Complete Control phase gate review
  • Transfer ownership and control to the process owner