DMAIC or DMADV, Which Process to Choose?

September 06th, 2010

Tags: DMAIC, dmadv, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, lean six sigma certifications

To choose the proper process for the improvement project requires a brief understanding of each of the acronym based processes of DMAIC and DMADVDMAIC is namely Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. Its five phases are geared toward breakthrough improvements in products, processes, and service delivery.  DMADV is namely Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Validate.  Its five phases are geared toward development of new products, processes, or service delivery.

Choosing which process to follow can be a little confusing at the outset of an improvement project where the names of the first three phases for each of the processes is exactly the same.  To clarify the differences in the first three phases in DMAIC it’s clearly spelled out as Define, Measure, and Analyze with no hidden meanings.  In DMADV the definitions need clarification:

  • Define - Development Project Definition
  • Measure – Product, Process, or Service Delivery Requirements Definition
  • Analyze - Product, Process, or Service Delivery Conceptual Design

If the project’s goal is to develop a new product, process, or service delivery than clearly the process to follow is DMADV, which is a five phased development process.  If the project’s goal is to improve an existing product, process, or service delivery than clearly the process to follow is DMAIC, right?  In most cases it is, but if the existing situation is so broken and just fixing it won’t provide the ability to meet or exceed customer requirements a course correction to DMADV from DMAIC is in order.

Was time wasted by starting off with DMAIC?  The Define and Measure phases in the DMAIC process generate deliverables that will be essential in the development project.  The Analyze phase provides great detail about the failure modes that a new product, process, or service delivery will have to mitigate to be successful.  Time wasn’t wasted, but the conversion from DMAIC to DMADV should take place during the Analyze phase at the latest.  Often after the Measure phase it is clear that a new development is required to meet customer expectations.

From the outset if the project is a new development it is DMADV.  Otherwise, start with DMAIC and course correct if it is determined that redesign is required for the product, process, or service delivery.  Time will not have been wasted unless you don’t course correct.

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