DMAIC – A powerful tool for total quality management.

DMAIC provides principles for a data-driven quality strategy for process improvement in an organization. It is an integral part of a Six Sigma initiative, but in general, can be implemented as a standalone quality improvement procedure or as part of other process improvement initiatives such as lean. DMAIC is an acronym for five interconnected phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.


Define the Customer, their Critical to Quality (CTQ) issues, and the Core Business Process involved. The focus should be on defining a clear problem statement and a tangible goal.

  • Define who customers are, what their requirements are for products and services, and what their expectations are
  • Define project boundaries ­ the stop and start of the process. A set of clear requirement and scope should be defined in this step.
  • Define the process to be improved by mapping the process flow


Measure the performance of the Core Business Process involved.

  • Develop a data collection plan for the process
  • Collect data from many sources to determine types of defects and metrics
  • Compare to customer survey results to determine shortfall


Analyze the data collected and process map to determine root causes of defects and opportunities for improvement. The Analyze phase isolates the top causes behind the metric or CTQ that the team is focused on.  In most cases there will be no more than three causes (more likely one or two) that must be controlled in order to achieve success – if too many causes are identified, then the team has either not isolated the primary cause or the project goal is too ambitious to achieve success with a single project.

  • Identify gaps between current performance and goal performance
  • Prioritize opportunities to improve
  • Identify sources of variation


Improve the target process by designing creative solutions to fix and prevent problems.

  • Create innovate solutions using technology and discipline
  • Develop and deploy implementation plan


Control the improvements to keep the process on the new course.

  • Prevent reverting back to the “old way”
  • Require the development, documentation and implementation of an ongoing monitoring plan
  • Institutionalize the improvements through the modification of systems and structures (staffing, training, incentives