An Introduction to DMAIC

by @reagan No Comments

The problem-solving approach used in Six Sigma (and Lean Six Sigma) is called DMAIC. Based on the PDCA cycle (PDCA Deming Cycle) it’s a simple and logical way to solve problems. The trick for a successful Lean Six Sigma project comes from learning how to use the Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control flow in the right way and follow each step thoroughly.

‘If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.’ – W. Edwards Deming

DMAIC is a data-driven strategy for solving problems. Firstly, you start with Define, then Measure, Analyse, Improve and finally Control. This approach ensures that we do not jump to solutions before we have correctly measured and analysed the issues.

However, it is not a simple linear approach but much more iterative at each stage. When measuring something you may realise that you may have missed or not considered in your Define stage. In that case, you would update the Define stage.

When you take Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training programs and above, there are often gate reviews at the end of each stage which must be passed for progressing to the next DMAIC Stage. This ensures that the required work for each stage has been completed and fully integrated before moving on. If you want to learn more about our Lean Six Sigma Certification, please click the link.

1. Define

Define and identify a problem and understand Why it is a problem. Develop the project charter.

2. Measure

Understand what is actually happening and develop a clear baseline performance with a meaningful measurement system.

3. Analyse

Identify the critical factors that create a good product or service and identify the true root cause of any critical defects.

4. Improve

Identify, select and implement the best solutions and showing how the solutions impact the KPI’s identified in your Measure phase.

5. Control

Ensuring the solutions implemented become the new way of working and that the improvements are sustained and not lost over time.

DMAIC Summary

The DMAIC structure is a logical flow to solving both small problems to major cross-functional business problems. As you move through Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control, there are a range of tools that can be used.


  1. At the end of each stage, a clear decision point must be followed before moving on to the next
  2. The tool while appearing to be quite rigid, is iterative with flow across the first four phases
  3. It follows the PDCA flow
  4. Engage a team – you will get much better results

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