What is DMAIC?

DMAIC is a data-driven quality strategy for improving processes. It stands for Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control.

DMAIC is an integral part of a Six Sigma initiative, but in general, can be implemented as a standalone quality improvement procedure or as part of other process improvement initiatives such as lean.

DMAIC is an acronym for the five phases that make up the process:

  • Define the problem, improvement activity, opportunity for improvement, the project goals, and customer (internal and external) requirements.
  • Measure process performance.
  • Analyse the process to determine the root causes of variation, poor performance (defects).
  • Improve process performance by addressing and eliminating the root causes.
  • Control the improved process and future process performance.

How and when to use DMAIC

One way to keep on top of this strategy is to incorporate it into your daily responsibilities. This is an effective approach to finding and solving issues that aren’t urgent but can be improved all the same. However, in case of an emergency, it’s also possible to get all employees to focus entirely on the strategy to get a solution in a much shorter timeframe.

This method is most effective when the root of the issue is unclear but still poses considerable risk. When it comes to implementing this strategy there are many options. For example, value stream maps, A3s, fishbone diagrams, and Catchball can all be of great use.

The DMAIC process easily lends itself to the project approach to quality improvement encouraged and promoted by Juran. You can’t always anticipate the problems for every task or prepare for everything in advance. But, with the right mindset, strategies and templates in place, you can adapt efficiently and quickly.

More Resources:

SourceThe Certified Quality Engineer Handbook, Third Edition, ed. Connie M. Borror, ASQ Quality Press, 2009, pp. 321–332.