Six Sigma Methodology

This Six Sigma Methodology blog will help you deep dive into Six Sigma methodologies and use them in real time. It will allow you to master all the phases included in DMAIC and DMADV methodologies and the importance of those methodologies.

Six Sigma is a business methodology designed by Motorola. Motorola company introduced Six Sigma to measure and optimize all business processes. It utilizes a statistical benchmark to indicate the success level of a business process. It provides techniques and tools that eliminate defects and reduce process variation for creating the best products and services. 

Six Sigma has two methodologies - DMAIC and DMADV. Companies from different industries like Healthcare, Manufacturing, Education, Financial, and Hospitality use these Six Sigma Methodologies. Enterprises will utilize these methodologies in all circumstances to identify and fix errors systematically. In this Six Sigma Methodology blog, you will familiarize yourself with the Six Sigma methodologies and learn how to implement them as per customer requirements.  

Six Sigma Methodology - Table of Contents

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is defined as the group of technologies and tools for process enhancement developed in the 1980s at Motorola. The six sigma methodology emphasizes statistical enhancements to the business process and searches for qualitative measurements of success. The Practitioners of Six Sigma include business people who utilize financial and statistical analysis and project management to achieve enhanced quality control and business functionality by reviewing defects or mistakes.

Organizations select Six Sigma for using the Six Sigma model to improve profits. Six Sigma is now the industry standard with the certifications provided to practitioners. It enhances performance by removing defects and waste while strengthening work standardization.

If you want to enrich your career and become a professional in Six Sigma, then enroll in "Six Sigma Green Belt Training" This course will help you to achieve excellence in this domain.

Why Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is the method that offers enterprise tools that enhance the capability of the business process. This rise in performance and reduction in the process variation lead to defect reduction and enhancement in employee morale, profits, and quality of services or products. Six Sigma is vital for the following reasons:

1. Decreasing Waste

Six Sigma helps you and your enterprise optimize business processes to reduce waste. The unique technique will allow you to recognize and remedy waste areas within your enterprise, saving time and resources.

2. Increasing efficiency

Six Sigma not only helps you decrease waste but also enables you to leverage efficient processes. You can also utilize the resources to get maximum efficiency through the existing business processes.

3. Reducing Errors

Six Sigma gives equal attention to quality as it does the process. We cannot choose “undo” on the production job; thus, getting the right product the first time is the best way to save money and time.

4. Minimizing the Company’s legal risk

The Six Sigma process will also save money from the potential legal fees. Due to the dedication of Six Sigma towards quality, using this methodology will help you maintain international compliance standards.

5. Using it in any industry

One of the best advantages of Six Sigma is that any industry can adopt it. It can be manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and higher education. We can follow any enterprise's Six Sigma tools and techniques to increase profits and reduce costs.

6. Making more money

The Six Sigma Certified professionals will get a 19% salary increase per level. The Black Belt certification holders will get a salary of more than 1,00,000.

How does Six Sigma Work?

In the 1920s, Walter Shewhart proposed that three sigma from the mean is the threshold that tells there are a lot of defects and process enhancement is needed. This was accepted as a standard for several years until Bill Smith proposed analyzing and gathering the data at a gritty level and considering Six Sigma the threshold at which a process must be amended.

Since making a process defect-free is impossible, six sigma permits 3.4 defects per million opportunities. When we use Six Sigma, we will first gather the data, then utilize some statistics to calculate the baseline sigma. The baseline tells how close the organization is to achieve its goals and acts as a measure for evaluating future enhancement.

Related Article: Six Sigma Techniques

What is the Importance of Six Sigma?

Six Sigma supporters say that its business strategy advantages include up to 50% cycle-time enhancement, process cost minimization, little material wastage, a good understanding of the customer needs, improved customer satisfaction and value stream, and more secure services and products. 

Motorola has the unified trademark for Six Sigma. Many enterprises opine that Six Sigma can be expensive to implement and take years before the enterprise starts seeing the bottom-line results.  

The public endorsement of Six Sigma enabled enterprises outside the manufacturing industry to learn how the Six Sigma methodologies can be utilized to enhance customer satisfaction.

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What are the Essential Principles of Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a famous approach to process management since it develops a method to enhance its processes. It is a product and customer-driven methodology. The main objective of this approach is avoiding wastage and delivering the product by satisfying all the customer requirements, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction. To properly analyze the process, Six Sigma needs exact data. The following goals, also called business success facts, can be achieved by utilizing Six Sigma in a company.

  • Enhanced Quality
  • Increased Productivity
  • Low Operation Cost
  • Great Customer Satisfaction
  • Enhanced Employee Morale
  • Effective work environment

Six Sigma has Five Essential Principles

1. Focus on the Customer

This is on the basis of the famous belief that the “customer is king.” The main objective is to give the highest benefit to the customer. To do that, an enterprise has to understand its customers, their requirements, and what gives sales or loyalty. This needs setting up the quality standard as specified by what the market or customer requires.

2. Measure the Value Stream and Identify Your Problem

Outline the steps in the provided process for determining the waste areas. Collect the data for discovering a particular problem area that is to be transformed or handled. We have to define the goals clearly for the data collection, like defining the data to be gathered, the reason for data collection, understanding anticipated, assuring the accuracy of the measurement and setting up the standardized data collection system. If the data is not helping to achieve the goals, the data has to be refined or further data gathered. Find the problem and the root cause. Six Sigma data collection includes making observations, the interview process, and asking questions till the answers are discovered.

3. Eliminate the Junk

Include all the stakeholders and follow a structured process to remove the variation, eliminating the defects. Eliminate the activities in the process that do not boost the value to the customer. If the value stream does not disclose where the problem is, tools are utilized to find the problem areas and outliers. Simplify the functions to get quality effectiveness and control. By eliminating the junk mentioned above, problems in the process are eliminated. 

4. Involve stakeholders

Process enhancement is an inherent part of the Six Sigma culture. But, to make the proper decisions about what has to be enhanced, we should regularly listen to the people included in the process. All the front-line employees may have in-depth feedback on how the process can be enhanced.

Moreover, Six Sigma says we must have a dedicated process enhancement team accountable for the Six Sigma processes. This is because the enhancements don’t occasionally happen due to the shared vision and collective efforts. For supporting the team, our organization has to offer process enhancement training and ensure that the employees know Six Sigma measurement methods and tools.

5. Flexible and Responsive System

Six Sigma need adaptability from different viewpoints. The business management system has to recognize the positive modifications. People must be encouraged to accept the system's modifications to eliminate the variation. To encourage employees, the advantages of the Six Sigma system must be made accessible to all levels of employees. This will make the modifications easily acceptable. Six Sigma also requires variation minimization. Thus understand every aspect of the process - the steps, methods, and stakeholders included. This will allow you to ensure that any latest or upgraded process works.

Six Sigma Methodologies

Six Sigma utilizes two different methodologies, DMAIC and DMADV, as a mirror to monitor and handle the interdependent aspects of the business processes. The DMADV and DMAIC differences are intended to view business sectors parallelly but take them independently. Regardless of unique distinctions, the methodologies intersect in the examination process and share the same goal - enhancing the business processes.

Every methodology has guidelines and goals to enhance business processes using data collection and statistical tools. Even though the methods are built to acquire the same thing, there are remarkable differences between the two that professionals must consider in business environments or various organizational settings.

Methodology #1. DMAIC

The DMAIC methodology has 5 phases: 1) Define, 2) Measure, 3)Analyze, 4) Improve, and 5) Control. It is utilized for enhancing the existing process. In this Methodology, the problem will be identified, the effect of the problem will be measured, and the root cause of the problem will be analyzed. After that, the root cause is eliminated in the existing process, and the process will be controlled such that it does not revert to the earlier state. This controls the process variation.

DMAIC methodology

1. Define

This stage aims to find all the relevant information required to break down the project, process, or problem into palpable and actionable terms. It focuses the grounding and concrete process enhancements in quantifiable, qualifiable, and actual information instead of abstract goals. Following are the terms in Define stage:

  • Voice of Customer(VoC) Research
  • Project Scope Charter, like budget, driving, and focus motivation
  • Project Timeline
  • Value Stream Maps

2. Measure

In this “Measure” phase, enterprise evaluates the existing process capabilities. Even though they understand they have to make enhancements and have those enhancements specifically in the Define Phase, they may not have tailoring and tweaking modifications until they contain a data-backed baseline. The measure phase has two following activities:

  • Measure the existing activity or process.
  • Use those existing data sets for establishing the process capability baseline, which process enhancement data can be compared to.

3. Analyze

The “Analyze” phase analyzes the data amassed in the measuring stage for isolating the actual root causes of the process's ineffectiveness, discrepancies, and defects. In Simple words, it fetches the meaning from the data. Insights gathered from the analysis start staging the tangible process enhancements from the team or enterprise for implementation. Enterprises go beyond the analysis phase when they conduct the following:

  • Pareto charts and the same Six Sigma-approved data maps tracing the frequency of the issue.
  • Actual Capability and Potential Capability solutions
  • Root Cause Analysis

4. Improve

The “Improve‘ phase begins formal actions assured to resolve the intent root problem gathered from the analysis. Enterprises directly handle what they have found as problem root causes, generally deploying the design of an experiment plan for isolating different co-factors and variables until the proper barrier is discovered.

5. Control

In the last phase, “Control,” Six Sigma generates the control plan and deploys the latest standardized process. The control plan summarizes the enhanced regular workflows, which leads to essential business process variables enduring the approved quality control variances.

All these five phases generate repeatable templates for enhancing the enterprise process capabilities. When the five phases are implemented, enterprises can assess the efficiency and effectiveness of vital manufacturing business processes. Measurements are traced in the control chart, comparable process-control data that utilize the competitive benefit.

Methodology #2. DMADV

This methodology also will have five measures: Define, Measure, Analysis, Define, and Value. It is used to design the process so that no variation exists. This is known as the design for Six Sigma. In this Methodology, the problem will be identified, the effect of the problem will be measured, and the root cause will be analyzed. After that system is developed, reducing the discovered problem and verified.

DMADV  methodology

1. Define

DMADV begins by defining the customer requirements. The customer, in most situations, is the explicit entity, but customers can also be implicit. For instance, while designing the process that supplies elements to another in-built process, the customer is implicit.

The main sources for this data are the customers themselves. Remember what they say they want and what their objectives are. For instance, the customer can say the left-haded widget is required, but after hearing what they need the widget to do, you may decide that the Teflon-coated left-handed widget may be the best solution. Discuss the ideas with the customer to define the best solution for the client’s requirements.

2. Measure

The second phase is to utilize the definition of what the customer requires for creating the specification. The specification measurably specifies the service or product, enabling data to be gathered and compared with the defined needs. This is crucial for assuring the final product satisfies the customer requirements specified in the first step. In this step, we will measure four categories of characteristics:

  • Critical to Quality: Quality parameters are directly associated with the customer’s requirements.
  • Manufacturing Process Capability: It is the capability of the process to satisfy its purpose. Can the product be made for satisfying the customer’s requirements
  • Risks Assessment: What are the Risks, and how can they be assessed? What is the schedule that should be satisfied? and what are the proper milestones?
  • Product Capabilities: It establishes the methods to assess how well the product meets customer requirements.

3. Analyze

In this phase, the proposed product or process is studied and analyzed to determine the best ways to get the required results. We will also identify areas that require enhancement or adjustment, both in the product and the product-making process. At this stage, a prototype will be built and analyzed. The main aim of this step is to discover alternatives, explore the alternatives, and integrate the other helpful options to enhance the process and product.

4. Design

Based on the Analysis phase, we will design the new product or process. As alterations are made, the analysis phase repeatedly compares the new design with particular characteristics. Customer test groups can be utilized to test the latest techniques to determine how well they satisfy customer expectations.

5. Validate

Validation is the fifth step, and in this phase, we will verify whether the results exceed or satisfy customers' requirements. This involves verifying the product is being built as it has to be made and whether it is fulfilling the specification needs. After product release also, we will do this process to integrate new features into the product.

Six Sigma Methodology FAQs

1. What are the key elements of Six Sigma?

Following are the three core elements of Six Sigma

  1. Process Improvement
  2. Process Design or Re-Design
  3. Process Management

2. What is an example of Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is the process enhancement methodology. It helps enterprises to identify and remove errors and defects. The Six Sigma methodology is applied in some prominent projects in the healthcare sector. One such project was initiated by Johns Hopkins Hospital, which utilized it to enhance customer satisfaction.

3 Is Six Sigma a Process Improvement Tool?

Yes, Six Sigma is a process improvement tool used to improve business process capability.

4. What is the Six Sigma Process?

The six Sigma process is used as a business methodology for analyzing and reducing defects and errors. It enhances cycle times while minimizing manufacturing defects.

5. What are the DMADV methods of Six Sigma?

Following are the DMADV methods of Six Sigma:

  1. Define
  2. Measure
  3. Analyze
  4. Design
  5. Verify

6. What does DMADV mean?

DMADV is the Six Sigma framework that mainly focuses on building a new product, process, or service. This framework is helpful while executing new initiatives and strategies.

7. What is DMADV used for?

The DMADV method is used for redesigning the problematic product or process. Initially, the DMADV methodology follows the first three phases of the DMAIC methodology, and then it introduces the Redesign/Design and Validation phases to get the required enhancements.

8. What are DMADV and DMAIC?

DMADV and DMAIC are the two methodologies of Six Sigma. DMADV handles the design process, and DMAIC reduces are eliminates the defects.

Related Article: Six Sigma Interview Question and Answers


Many Fortune 500 organizations utilize the Six Sigma methodology to enhance the capability of the business process. Six Sigma improves performance and reduces process variation to decrease defects and increase profits and product quality. I hope this Six Sigma methodology blog is sufficient for you to get a good understanding of Six Sigma methodologies like DMAIC and DMADV. Getting certified in the Six Sigma Certification Course is a great way to know about the concepts and helps improve your business's work. 

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Last updated: 24 Jun 2023
About Author


Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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