HR Management Paper on DMAIC Method of Quality Control

DMAIC Method of Quality Control


DMAIC is a set of five steps developed by Deming as a methodology to streamline and improve efficiency and effectiveness of organizational processes across the industry. The DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) is an approach to solving problems that lead an organization to well-grounded performance standards used to streamline resources and clarification of business goals. As a traditional six-sigma methodology, it was designed to solve problematic processes, products or services to regain control and improve productivity, financial aspects, quality and time. Moreover, DMAIC approach allows flexibility and iterative work analysis to improve key metrics of a business (Sokovic & Pipan, 2010).

The DMAIC steps are the key factors for any process improvement initiative that allows the leaders and stakeholders of a business, organization or a project to define the problem, measure the performance, analyze the causes of the problem, verify improvement recommendations and  implement the changes that will improve the key measures. It is built on three fundamental principles: project-structured, results-focused and the inherent combination of tool-tasks-deliverables that varies by each step of the approach. As a tool for redesigning the process, DMAIC method requires four components that include product or service measurement system, a standard toolset for supporting the production of deliverables, the ability to define adjustment factors and a control scheme that enhances the improvement of a control plan (Dedhia, 2005).

The DMAIC Five Steps

The Application DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) steps to any six-sigma project bring success in quality improvement.


This is the first step whose main objective is to outline the borders of the project in process. First, stakeholders have to agree on all the parameters that define the project activities for execution. The stakeholders’ purpose in this step is to initiate and set the project up for success. Therefore, they have to be familiar with the project’s operation management, corporate objectives, and quality improvement process. On the other hand, the stakeholders have to identify the customers, beneficiaries and the timeframe for the completion of the project. Second, customer’s need, scope, and budgetary items have to be aligned with the project goals. Notably, the project goals ensure that project managers streamline their activities towards with the set targets in order to achieve a quality process for quality results. Lastly, team development commences as the project starts taking the shape (Lynch & Cloutier, 2003).To achieve all these deliverables, project managers and stakeholders have to facilitate a process map through the following processes:

Define the problem by developing a problem statement

This is by confirming the process causing the problem. The team assesses some existing data that shows an ongoing problem. The problem statement encompasses the severity of the problem, business impact whereby the team asks itself whether solving the problem will result in greater revenue and cost saving for the project, and the specific area outlining the specific unit or department that will be involved. Moreover, the formation of team leader is vital. It is the responsibilities of the team leader and those in the leadership position (project champion) to confirm the availability of resources before the commencement of any project (Lynch & Cloutier, 2003). This is critical to ensuring that quality course of actions is undertaken to enhance process improvement and quality control

Define the goal by developing a goal statement

A goal is a long-term observable and measurable end result to be achieved within a fixed timeframe. The aim of the goal is to establish critical to quality measure for customer requirements with the specification that must be met. The Pareto chart is used to categorize the problems to identify the frequent types. For a business, market segmentation is used to determine differences in the need and expectations of the customers.(Lynch & Cloutier, 2003).

Developing process maps

The maps help in clarification of the start and end points of the process by incorporating the SIPOC (suppliers, inputs, process, outputs and customers) tool as a visual representation in the project process. Mapping is the initial document that leaders and stakeholders use throughout the project’s life.

Define customers’ requirement

Every  project aims at meeting customers’ needs. Therefore, it is important for the team to be conversant with the voice of the customers as this gives the insight to identify the customer requirements to define the strategy to improve the process and solve the problem. However, the define step is only successful when the team and stakeholders apply project charter, SIPOC, tree diagram, and voice of customer translation matrix while setting up the project (Lynch & Cloutier, 2003).


This is the phase whereby the team and stakeholders led by team champion determines the baseline of the process. It entails identification of root causes of the problem through the three key tasks:


Process mapping

Process mapping is dependent on six-sigma processes whereby the process maps are created through direct individual input and observers in charge of monitoring information. Activity flow chart is used in this step as a platform for creating a visual depiction of the process. Steps for every team member are recorded in order with the feedback. Moreover, a deployment flowchart illustrating the person performing each step highlight the steps adding value to the process outcome.

Data collection

The critical-to-quality (CTQs) established during the define step define the criteria for evaluation of project scopes and deliverables thus, gathering data on critical measures becomes the baseline for tracking primary data on the measures in relation to customer satisfaction rate (Bewoor & Pawar, 2010).This is achieved by developing a data collection plan.

Data analysis

During the DMAIC measure phase, analyzing data involves transforming the raw data into graphs and charts for visual representation. The type and amount of data collected dictate the kind of visual tool used in the process. In wrapping up the measure phase, the project team understands the process map and the detailed baseline through the application of data collection plan, check sheets, measurement definitions and value stream map to the quality improvement process (Bewoor & Pawar, 2010).


This is the third phase whose main goal is the identification of potential root causes. The  CTQ measures are determined by the team champion. Therefore, this phase answer the question “why the problem is occurring?” notably, causal factors have to be identified in order to make an improvement to the process.

Potential root causes

After analyzing the process map, the team is able to identify sources of  inefficiencies .Therefore, these problems and hypotheses are confirmed with data. The six-sigma teams learn several techniques such as brainstorming to identify the factors affecting performance. Additionally, the application of the five whys exercise may be used to get to the surface level of the possible causes of inefficiency.

Cause and effect diagrams

After compiling the list of possible root causes, several tools are used to assess and prioritize them. This tool includes the Ishikawa  fishbone diagram that identifies the root cause and effect in relation to the people, processes, technology and policies. Moreover, a tree diagram can be incorporated together with the fishbone diagram to organize the same information.

Confirmation of root causes

In wrapping up the analyzing phase, the six-sigma team conducts cause-effect analyses and they are able to define the relationship between the root cause and effect. Analysis of this phase is done through scatter plots, analysis of variance and correlation analysis that help the project team to make the appropriate decision. Valuable tools that help identify the root causes of waste and defects include process analysis, data analysis, cause and effect diagram and value stream map.


This  is the step for implementation and verification  of the solution. The team engages in solution development whereby a structured improvement results in innovative solutions. The main aim improve step is to investigate the problem and identify possible solutions to the problem. It involves:

Identification of potential solutions

It is necessary to involve all the people in the performing process. Their contribution to the project helps in brainstorming of the potential solutions  that counter the root cause problems. The teams’ effort in the brainstorming stage produces a variety of ideas  based on quality. The creative idea generation results in techniques that lead the team out of the box solutions.

Selection of solutions to implement

Implementation of the best solution depends on the timeline, financial cost and the ease of endorsement in the project. Therefore, the team and project champion have to weigh each criterion  as they propose the evaluation of best solution. The team uses priority matrix and Pugh matrix  to evaluate the ratings of each of  solutions to determine the best solution for implementation through objective means (Hoerl & Molnau, 2001).

Implementation improvements

Basic project management helps in the determination of failure modes and effect analysis during the implementation improvements. This analysis helps determine potential problems that may arise after the implementation of the improved process. To evaluate the improvement, the team incorporates the brainstorming, impact effort matrix and weighted criteria matrix to achieve an improved process.


This is the last step of DMAIC whose goal is to maintain the solution. The team documents the solution for sustaining the improvements. A process improvement infrastructure  is passed  on to all the employees working within the process  to ensure continuous improvement of the process by subjecting it to lean principles, managing and motoring the processes and expanding  the quality improvement processes in the entire organization. There is a need to create  a process-monitoring plan for the new process. This plan ensures that the results are within the expectations. To wrap up the control phase, the team applies control plan, response plan, control charts and documentation to enhance quality control and quality improvement for the processes (Starbird, 2002).


DMAIC is a five-step approach used  to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the organization, business or project processes to enhance performance standards. Improved processes help in streamlining resources and clarification of business goals. Therefore, wrapping up the five steps; define, analyze, measure, improve and control will result in the closure of the project having established criteria to quality for customers, measured the process, identified the root cause problems and solution to creating a plan to monitor the improved process. Finally, this will open an opportunity to bring success and greater momentum of change for quality process improvement within the organization.


Bewoor, A. K. & Pawar, M. S. (2010). Mapping macro/micro level critical links for integrating     Six Sigma DMAIC steps as a part of company’s existing QMS: an Indian SME case      study. International Journal of Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage, 6(1-2), 105-131.

Dedhia, N. S. (2005). Six sigma basics. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence,            16(5), 567-574.

Hoerl, R. W., Montgomery, D. C., Lawson, C. & Molnau, W. E. (2001). Six Sigma black belts:    What do they need to know?/Discussion/Response. Journal of Quality Technology, 33(4),         391.

Lynch, D. P., Bertolino, S. & Cloutier, E. (2003). How to scope DMAIC projects. Quality            progress, 36(1).

Sokovic, M., Pavletic, D. & Pipan, K. K. (2010). Quality improvement methodologies–PDCA      cycle, RADAR matrix, DMAIC and DFSS. Journal of Achievements in Materials and        Manufacturing Engineering, 43(1).

Starbird, D. (2002, January). Business excellence: Six Sigma as a management system:” A             DMAIC approach to improving Six Sigma management processes”. In ASQ World       Conference on Quality and Improvement Proceedings. (American Society for Quality.