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DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control)

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) is an approach to problem-solving defined by Motorola as part of the Six Sigma management philosophy. 

DMAIC, which is pronounced "de-may-ick," is a tool for improving an existing process. The steps can be summarized as follows.

  • Define: State the problem, specify the customer set, identify the goals, and outline the target process.
  • Measure: Decide what parameters need to be quantified, work out the best way to measure them, collect the necessary data, and carry out the measurements by experiment.
  • Analyze: Identify gaps between actual and goal performance, determine causes of those gaps, determine how process inputs affect outputs, and rank improvement opportunities.
  • Improve: Devise potential solutions, identify solutions that are easiest to implement, test hypothetical solutions, and implement actual improvements.
  • Control: Generate a detailed solution monitoring plan, observe implemented improvements for success, update plan records on a regular basis, and maintain a workable employee training routine.

DMAIC, which is used to regain control, should not be confused with a similar Six Sigma process called Sigma DMADV. DMADV stands for "define, measure, analyze, design, verify." This set of steps is applied to new processes to make sure that they achieve Six Sigma quality. 

Six Sigma methodologies, which were originally used in manufacturing to improve quality, are now used in many disciplines including project management, education and agile software development. All Six Sigma processes are executed by Six Sigma experts designated according to "belt color," using a scheme similar to the ones used in martial arts.

Dan Delaiarro provides an overview of DMAIC as it applies to the Six Sigma process.

This was last updated in September 2012

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