Six sigma project management principles

Six sigma project management princples

Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools used to assist process improvements. It was developed by Motorola in 1986. Today, it is used by many companies. Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods which can be adapted to suit the businesses requirements.

Six Sigma projects follow two project methodologies inspired by Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle.

v DMAIC (an abbreviation for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) is used for projects aimed at improving an existing business process.

v DMEDI (an abbreviation for Define, Measure, Explore, Develop and Implement) is used for projects aimed at creating new product or process designs.

DMAIC refers to a data-driven improvement cycle used for improving, optimizing and stabilizing business processes and designs. The DMAIC managementprincimprovement cycle is the core tool used to drive Six Sigma projects. However, DMAIC is not exclusive to Six Sigma and can be used as the framework for other improvement applications.

Within the individual phases, Six Sigma utilizes many established quality-management tools that are also used outside Six Sigma. The following is an overview of the main methods used.

  • 5 Whys
  • Business Process Mapping
  • Cause & effects diagram (also known as fishbone or Ishikawa diagram)
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Pareto analysis
  • Root cause analysis
  • SIPOC analysis (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customers)
  • Value stream mapping
  • FMEA (Failure modes and effects analysis)

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