Six Sigma Methodology | Six Sigma Model | Six Sigma Approach

Knowledge Center


Focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services. Explanation of Six Sigma.


  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources


What is Six Sigma? Description

Six Sigma is a quality management methodology that provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation lead to defect reduction and improvement in profits, employee morale and quality of product. It is a quality measure and improvement program that was pioneered by Mikel Harry and Motorola. It focuses on the control of a process until the point of six sigma (standard deviations) from a centerline, or 3.4 defects per million items. It includes identifying factors which are critical for the quality as determined by the customer. It reduces process variation and improvement capabilities, increases stability and designs systems to support the six sigma goal.

The Six Sigma model is a highly disciplined approach that can help companies to focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services. It is based on the statistical work of Joseph Juran, a Rumanian-born US pioneer of quality management. The word "Sigma" is a Greek sign used for a statistical term that measures how far a given process deviates from perfection (standards deviation). If the sigma number is higher, you are closer to perfection. One sigma is not very good; six sigma is defined as only 3.4 defects per million. The central idea behind Six Sigma is that if you can measure how many "defects" you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how you can eliminate them. Thus you can almost come to "zero defects".

The Japanese origin of Six Sigma can still be seen by the system of "belts" which it uses. If you are new to Six Sigma and you go on a basic training, you get a green belt. Anyone who has the responsibility for leading a Six Sigma team is called a black belt. Finally there is a special elite group called Master Black Belts who supervise the Black Belts.


Six Sigma 6 Σ

Five Steps in Six Sigma. Process

Typically, a Six Sigma process has the following five stages:

  1. Definition. The first step in any Six Sigma project is to clarify the problem and narrow its scope in such a way that measurable goals can be achieved within a few months. Then a team is assembled to examine the process in detail, suggest improvements, and implement those recommendations. In the manufacturing world, project managers and their sponsors typically begin by defining what constitutes a defect and then establish a set of objectives designed to reduce the occurrence of such defects.
  2. Measurement. In the second step of a Six Sigma project, the team gathers data and prepares it for high-level analysis.
  3. Analysis. Once a process has been mapped and documented, and the quality of the hard supporting data has been verified, the Six Sigma team can begin the analysis. The team members usually start by identifying the ways in which people fail to act as needed, or by identifying the ways in which people fail to ensure effective control at each stage.
  4. Improvement. Recommend, decide and implement improvements.
  5. Control. In the final stage of a Six Sigma project, the team creates controls. These are enabling the company to sustain and extend the improvements.

Six Sigma Methodology | Six Sigma Model | Six Sigma Approach Forum
  Disadvantages of Lean Six Sigma. Drawbacks
Hello! I am a student and I am trying to investigate why not every company is willing to implement Lean Six Sigma (LSS) in their environment. I found out that some of them say that it is:
1. Too expensive
2. Takes a lot of time to implement...
  Lean Management in Retail
Hi all, I'm a student from UEB-VNU, Vietnam. I've start my first research on applying lean management in retail in Vietnam. I am a bit confused and looking for academic materials in this field but those are not very helpful. Do you have any ideas for...
  Lean 6 Sigma in Laboratories
Hello, I want to know about Lean 6 Sigma in as I am laboratory supervisor. How can I use this approach to reach to high quality in my organization?...
  Best Practices Lean Six Sigma in Social Care
I have been using Lean Six Sigma (I'm a Black belt) in Adult Social Care in the UK and to my knowledge I am the only person in the UK using this in this business area. It is proving to be extremely useful.
The hardest thing is MSA ( Me...
  Quality Lessons in Dealing with Contractors
In the last 2 years I learned the following lessons working with Home Remodeling contractors.
Lesson One: Be careful who you hire. Top contractors find and keep top craftsmen while contractor...
  Applying Six Sigma to Landscape Architecture
How can Six Sigma be applied in Architecture practice? The deliverables being the project plan, the drawings and supervision. The accuracy of processes and thus the defects can not be precisely defined. Does it mean that Six Sigma is not applicable t...
  The Cost of Poor Quality: Tools for Effective Control & Reduction
Which Six Sigma tools are effective to determine and reduce the cost of poor quality (in the manufacturing sector)?
Since there are lot of quality tools used in industries, selecting correct, effective tools would lead to reduce time of problem...
  Six Sigma in Passengers Handling
How can Six Sigma be applied to passengers handling services in air transportation at an airport?...
  Six Sigma in Textile / Confection Industry
Any information or experiences about Six Sigma implementation in textile, confection industries? Thank you......
  Add Standardization to DMAIC Phases in Six Sigma (DMAICS)
In my experience I implemented the Six Sigma process following 6 instead of just 5 phases. The first five are the classical phases (DMAIC) for the analysis, solution implementation and solution effectiveness confirmation...
And in the last phas...
  Six Sigma Requirements
In order for Six Sigma to be successful in an organisation, the concept should be embraced from the grass roots to top management.
Involvement of all stakeholders should be emphasised, as data is generated by the grass roots and i...
  Six Sigma in Medical Transcription
How can Six Sigma be used in the field of medical transcription? What are all the gradients that need to be worked on in medical transcription with Six Sigma?
Editor: Medical transcription is the process of transcription, or converting voice-recor...
  Evaluating Six Sigma Project Leaders
How can I evaluate the talent of Six Sigma project leaders (presentation skill, answering, strategic thinking, and so on)?
What grading and evaluation of the factors do you recommend?...
  Evaluating Six Sigma Projects
How can I evaluate the quality of 6 Sigma projects (logical think, creative, right tools, effectiveness and so on).
What grading and evaluation of the factors you recommend?...
  Focus of Six Sigma: The 6 Rights
Six Sigma management can focus on following 6 Right (Rights):
- Right Support
- Right Project
- Right Road Map (DMAIC)
- Right People (training)
- Right Tools
- Right Result (high performance, high benefit, and hi...
  6 Sigma in Construction Industry
Can 6 sigma method be applied in construction industry? If yes, how?...

Six Sigma Methodology | Six Sigma Model | Six Sigma Approach Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group

Six Sigma Methodology | Six Sigma Model | Six Sigma Approach Education & Events

Find Trainings, Seminars and Events

Best Practices - Six Sigma Methodology | Six Sigma Model | Six Sigma Approach Premium
  The 5 x Why Method (The 5 Whys)
The "5 x why" method has been developed by Toyota to perform an iterative Root Cause Analysis of production-related problems. The "5 x why" method is one of the avail...
  Is Six Sigma Enough? (To Improve the Quality Level of an Organization...)
In order to improve a process, or to get a new standard or higher quality level in an organization, is 6 Sigma a good approach?
My partners say that 6 Sigma is just for solving actual problems (d=define a problem), but it's not the best way to i...
  Hypothesis Testing in DMAIC Projects
Is hypothesis testing a must in DMAIC projects? Why (not)?...
  Tools for Finding Root Cause?
Which tool is preferable in Six Sigma methodology to detect or find the root cause from special cause variation and then solve accordingly? And how to differentiate if the tool is suitable to use for common cause variation or special cause variation?...
  Six Sigma for Marketing
Six Sigma for Marketing (SSFM) is newest Six Sigma variant – drives growth. SSFM links interdependencies of strategic marketing, tactical & operational processes. It proactively drives growth (e.g. new offerings) in a balanced way, versus simply cut...
  Six Sigma in an R&D context
Is it possible to use Six Sigma to improve the quality of R&D processes? Or do R&D activities naturally defy systematic improvement efforts?...

Expert Tips - Six Sigma Methodology | Six Sigma Model | Six Sigma Approach Premium

Six Sigma Implementation Principles

In the article 'Six Sigma - the route to business excellence' (Management Services, Winter 2005), John Morgan argues that a successful Six Sigma im...
Usage (application): Implementing Six Sigma Succesfully

Six Sigma Approaches / Steps Compared

Commonly Six Sigma projects focus on re-designing processes and systems and improving performance of existing systems. While the latter is usually add...
Usage (application): DMAIC, DMADOV, DMAEV, DABTL

Good Six Sigma Project Management

In their article 'Six Sigma in Service Organizations' (International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2007), Byung Rae Cho...
Usage (application): Six Sigma Project Characteristics

6 Management Responsibilities in 6 Sigma

The six imperative responsibilities top managers must take on in the early stages of a Six Sigma process:
1. Develop a strong rationale: l...
Usage (application): Six Sigma Implementation, Best Practices

How Six Sigma Supports TQM

Forrest B.Green suggests in a paper called: Six-Sigma and the Revival of TQM that Total Quality Management (TQM) is undergoing a revival under a new n...
Usage (application): TQM, Six Sigma

Six Sigma in Service Organizations

According to Jiju Antony ('Six Sigma for Service Processes', Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2005), the adoption of a Six Sigm...
Usage (application): Benefits

Six Sigma Lessons Learned

Although six sigma programs typically start of well, they all too often fail to have a lasting impact as participants gradually lose motivation and...
Usage (application): Process Improvement of Six Sigma Projects

Human Sigma

Although Six Sigma is an extremely powerful tool in manufacturing contexts, it falls short when it comes to the employee-customer encounter with its v...
Usage (application): Improving Employee-Customer Encounters

3 Critical Success Factors for Six Sigma Projects

3 Critical Success Factors of a Six Sigma project are:
1 Executive Engagement:
- Support consistently the organization with active com...
Usage (application): Getting results out of a 6 Sigma project

3 Six Sigma Variants

Behind the success of 3 major companies who innovatively applied Six Sigma in Supply Chain Management ...
Usage (application): Differences in Six Sigma Approaches

Six Sigma in Service Organizations

Although the adoption of a Six Sigma business strategy in service organizations can lead to considerable benefits, following challenges and difficu...
Usage (application): Challenges and Difficulties

Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)

MSA is a type of experiment whereby you measure the same item or object repeatedly using different pe...
Usage (application): Testing Measurement Systems, Improving Measurement Systems, Assessing Measurement Systems

Design for Six Sigma

In addition to the two common key methodologies: DMAIC and DMADV of Six Sigma, there is another separate approach which is called Design for Six Sigma...
Usage (application): Supply Chain & Quality

DMAIC Approach is Sequential, But...

The DMAIC approach is designed to allow for flexibility and iterative work, if necessary. As more is learned through this 5-step process, assumptions ...
Usage (application): Six Sigma Implementation

Lean Six Sigma Programs

Based on an analysis of Caterpillar and other companies that used lean Six Sigma programs to drive broad-based innovation and superior financial pe...
Usage (application): Driving Innovation


What Key Overall Requirements are there?
Requirements come from the customer (VoC) and the business (VoB), depending on the problem scenario. The...
Usage (application): Six Sigma Method

The DMAIC Process Step by Step Example

In order to better illustrate the DMAIC process, consider the case of a janitorial company that wants to boost the caliber of work done by its ...
Usage (application): Six Sigma Implementation, DMAIC Process

Radical Innovations

According to the article “Using a Lean Six Sigma Approach to Drive Innovation” by George Byrne, Dave Lubowe and Amy Blitz (Strategy & Leadership, Vol....
Usage (application): Assessing Your Level of Preparedness

Resources - Six Sigma Methodology | Six Sigma Model | Six Sigma Approach Premium

Six Sigma Dictionary (250 terms)

Short explanation of 250 six sigma terms. By Luis Garcia Guzman....
Usage (application): 6 Sigma Terms

Great Truths about Six Sigma

Humorous introduction to Six Sigma with cartoons from various cartoonists....
Usage (application): Introducing SIx Sigma

Six Sigma Explanation

Definition of “Six Sigma”
Six Sigma Best Practice Implementation framework
Key Ingredients for a Successful Six Sigma Program
Usage (application): Business Process Improvement

Six Sigma Intro

Introduction presentation by lakhanpalv....
Usage (application): Introduction to SS

Lean Assessment Tool

Spreadsheet calculates current and future Lean and Six Sigma scores based on scoring in 28 criteria. Generates Lean Overview and Radar Chart. By Brian...
Usage (application): Lean / Six Sigma Assessment

Business Process Management and Improvement: Six Sigma, BPR and (R)Evolutionary Change

Presentation about process management, particularly process modeling simulation and design. The presentation focuses on Six Sigma, BPR and Revolutiona...
Usage (application): Process Management, process Improvement, Business Process Reengineering, BPR, Six Sigma

Six Sigma Calculator

Determine the process performance in terms of Defects Per Million (DPM) or Parts Per Million (PPM)....
Usage (application): Calculating DPM and PPM

SS Origins and Destinations

Presentation by Prof. Rick Edgeman explains DMAIC, DFSS, the role of 6 Sigma in biophysical sustainability, environmental sustainability, economic sus...
Usage (application): Six Sigma and Sustainability

Using the Whys Method

To solve a problem effectively, you need to drill down through the symptoms to the underlying cause. Sakichi Toyoda, one of the fathers of the Japanes...
Usage (application): Six Sigma, Toyoda, Toyota, Lean Production, Root Cause Analysis

Overview Six Sigma

Presentation defines Six Sigma as a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects in any process -- from manufacturing to ...
Usage (application): Six Sigma Method

Introduction to Project Quality Management

Presentation about Project Quality Management. A large part of the presentation is about Six Sigma as a quality management tool. Other important and u...
Usage (application): Quality Management, Project Quality Planning, Project Quality Assurance, Project Quality Control

8 Wastes Assessment and 5S Analysis in Office Environments

In the office environment, our work does not take place on our desks, but on our computers and in our digital networks. You can apply the same princip...
Usage (application): Lean, 5S , WASTE

Six Sigma Diagram

Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in intranets, websites, books, ma...
Usage (application): Quality Assurance


Six Sigma Method


Six Sigma Process


Six Sigma Method


Six Sigma Process


Six Sigma Method


Six Sigma Process


Six Sigma Method


Six Sigma Process

Compare with: Kaizen  |  Deming Cycle  |  Scientific Management  |  8D Problem Solving  |  Value Chain  |  Just-in-time  |  Value Stream Mapping  |  Value Engineering  |  Hoshin Kanri - Policy Deployment

Return to Management Hub: Supply Chain & Quality

More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group Leader
Jagdish B Acharya

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us | Privacy | Terms of Service
Copyright 2016 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V14.0 - Last updated: 25-6-2016. All names tm by their owners.