From time-to-time, there are new ways of thinking or shortcuts to solving problems. However, the tried-and-true Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC) thought process endures as a fundamentally robust problem-solving thought process.
DMAIC must be properly applied to be effective, however. In this article we’ll consider some important objectives within each DMAIC sub-process.
First, let’s consider each sub-process as an opportunity to perform collaborative problem solving. In the “Define” phase (for example) the stakeholders and team members mutually agree on the problem statement, goals & objectives, process under study, process start/stop points, team members, business impact, etc.
While a project charter is an effective tool to enable “Define” information to be collected from team members, this article will focus on critical thinking (not tools) as follows:
Arguably, DMAIC could turn problem solving into somewhat of a science project. This can be avoided by identifying quick-win actions and forging ahead while continuing to apply DMAIC critical thinking. Also, several risks exist by skipping any one of the main objectives above.
In addition to six sigma tools, DMAIC helps the team think similarly throughout the project, and ensure the problem is solved with validated and sustainable improvements.