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Key Objectives and Activities for Each Step of DMAIC

Posted by Greg Jacobson

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Jun 24, 2015 2:30:00 PM

dmaic_2-1DMAIC is a data-driven, structured, customer-centric problem solving methodology. Each phase builds on the last to arrive at effective solutions for challenging problems. Define tells you what to measure. Measure tells you what to analyze. Analyze tells you what to improve. And Improve tells you what to control. Each phase has very specific objectives and is supported by a particular set of activities. Let’s take a closer look at them.


The Define phase is all about selecting high-impact opportunities for improvement and understanding which metrics will indicate project success. During this phase the leaders will:

  • Identify or validate the improvement opportunity
  • Outline the scope of the project
  • Develop the business process and critical customer requirements
  • Document business opportunity
  • Estimate project impact
  • Identify stakeholders
  • Form the team
  • Create team charter
  • Identify and map related business processes



During the Measure phase, existing processes are documented and a baseline is established. Critical activities at this point include:

  • Developing the methodology by which data will be collected to evaluate success
  • Identifying input, processes, and output indicators
  • Gathering, plottiing, and analyzing current state data
  • Completing failure modes and effects analysis



The goal of the Analyze phase is to find and validate the root causes of business problems and ensure that improvement is focused on causes, rather than symptoms. To do this, you will:

  • Develop a problem statement
  • Complete a root cause verification analysis
  • Implement process control
  • Conduct regression analysis
  • Design measurable improvement experiments
  • Develop a plan for improvement


Once you reach the Improvement phase, it is time to determine exactly which steps will be taken and begin to roll out the changes that analysis has prescribed. The following activities are common:

  • Generate and evaluate solution ideas
  • Determine expected solution benefits
  • Develop revised process maps and plans
  • Define a pilot solution and plan
  • Communicate solutions to all stakeholders


The objective of the last stage is to develop the monitoring processes and procedures that will ensure long-term success. To do so:

  • Verify reduction in failures due to the targeted root cause
  • Determine if additional improvement is necessary to achieve project goal
  • Identify and document replication and standardization opportunities
  • Update Standard Work documentation
  • Integrate lessons learned


Once the Control phase is complete, work on the next opportunity for improvement can begin again at the Define phase.

Although it is most commonly associated with Six Sigma, DMAIC can be used as a standalone tool for process improvement. Close adherence to the process of DMAIC helps leaders and their teams ensure that improvement projects are organized, effective, and repeatable.


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