DMAIC & LSS: Methodology

Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC)

We can use Benefit versus Effort analysis to prioritize potential projects. Only those with the highest ratio are accepted. A Green Belt or Black Belt resource may be assigned to the project to assist us in applying a scientific problem-solving methodology. This Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control methodology, DMAIC for short (pronounced duh-MAY-ick), consists of five distinct stages of problem solving.

Our structured LSS approach to identifying and choosing projects allows our plants and functional groups to develop a prioritized hopper of projects to which resources can be dedicated.


Lean Six Sigma Project Identification and Selection
Identifying and Choosing Projects using LSS

Every organization thinks it has solved problems only to have them reappear. These solutions cannot be sustained for long-term benefit. When using the LSS DMAIC approach, it is important to follow the methodology. If our LSS teams jump to conclusions about root causes, we may implement the incorrect solution. (LSS teams are dedicated to solving problems where the solution is unknown. Installation of equipment or implementations of an existing Best Practice are examples of projects that do not fall under the LSS approach.)

 Halden Zimmermann All Possible X's
Finding the Critical X’s


DMAIC is effective at solving problems because it forces a team to use data to:

  • Confirm the nature and extent of the problem
  • Identify true causes of problems
  • Find solutions that evidence shows are linked to causes
  • Establish procedure; maintain the solution seven after the project is done

Each phase has requirements the team must fulfill to progress to the next phase. A Gate Review (see page 55) must be completed as each phase is completed. Phases start out very general but become more specific as the team drills deeper toward the potential solution.


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