What is DMAIC?

The DMAIC tool is a data-driven quality strategy used to improve processes. DMAIC is an acronym for five interlinked phases of a process: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. This process is a continuous cycle with each phase of the process leading into the next.

The DMAIC process diagram

DMAIC

The steps within the process:

Define

The objective of this step is to clearly define the project scope by writing down what is known and what the desirable outcome is. Define the following while writing the scope:

  • Review project charter
  • Validate problem statement and goals
  • Validate the voice of the customer and voice of the business
  • Validate financial benefits and implications
  • Validate the high-level value stream map and scope
  • Create a communication plan
  • Select the project team
  • Develop project schedule

Measure

The purpose of this step is to objectively establish current baselines as the basis for improvement. This is a data collection step, the purpose of which is to establish process performance baselines.

  • Value stream map for deeper understanding
  • Identify key input, process, and output metrics
  • Develop operational definitions
  • Develop a data collection plan
  • Validate measurement systems
  • Collect baseline data
  • Determine process capability

Analyze

The purpose of this step is to identify, validate and select root cause for elimination. A large number of potential root causes (process inputs, X) of the project problem are identified via root cause analysis.

  • Determine critical inputs
  • Identify potential root causes
  • Reduce the list of potential causes
  • Confirm root cause effect on output
  • Estimate impact of root cause on key outputs
  • Prioritize root cause

Improve

The purpose of this step is to identify, test and implement a solution to the problem; in part or in whole. Identify creative solutions to eliminate the key root causes in order to fix and prevent process problems.

  • Develop potential solutions
  • Evaluate, select, and optimize BEST solution
  • Develop the new ‘as will be’ value stream map
  • Develop and implement a pilot solution
  • Confirm attainment of project goals
  • Develop the full-scale implementation plan

Control

The purpose of this step is to sustain the gains. Monitor the improvements to ensure continued and sustainable success. Create a control plan. Update documents, business process and training records as required.

  • Implement mistake proofing
  • Develop SOPs, training plan, and process controls
  • Implement solution and ongoing process measurements
  • Identify opportunities to apply project lessons
  • Hand over control to the process owner
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