Project Management

Six Sigma and How You Can Use It to Generate Value

A concept developed by Motorola in the late eighties, Six Sigma has continued to be an approach that gets results. It’s a data-driven approach that, since being coupled with lean project management 12 years ago, has helped Motorola save $16 billion. Yes that’s billion, with a “b.” Since then, companies have been trying to apply this winning formula to their own companies. Moira Alexander gives the blueprint for how Six Sigma works in an article for TechRepublic.

Tricks of Six Sigma

A defining feature of Six Sigma is that it decreases waste and defects. It does this through three different processes called DMAIC, DMADV, and DFSS. DMAIC applies to stabilizing and improving existing processes. It stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. DMADV by comparison applies to new processes and products. It stands for define, measure, analyze, design, and verify. The variance in the final steps are mainly to ensure that the new process will meet the customer’s needs and requirements. Finally, DFSS (which actually just stands for “Design for Six Sigma”) applies to developing or redesigning net new services and products. It follows a procedure of define, identify, design, optimize, and verify.

Alexander describes the five levels of professionals, or “belts,” that are involved in a Six Sigma project:

  1. Master Black Belts tend to be more at the program level and provide coaching for Black Belts and Green Belts. They are also responsible for determining strategy and developing KPIs.
  2. Six Sigma Black Belts are charged with leading projects that solve high-level problems and also provide coaching to team members.
  3. Green Belts help collect information/data and provide any necessary analysis. They also provide leadership for Green Belt project teams.
  4. Yellow Belts are typically project members who assist with process improvements and provide project support.
  5. White Belts provide team level problem-solving support, but they aren’t directly part of the Six Sigma project team.

For additional elaboration on how Six Sigma operates, you can view the original article here:

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