DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. It's as easy as that...and shouldn't be any more complicated.

The problem you are facing may be complex. It may be technically challenging or have significant implications.

Your brain needs a way to organize what you know. Your brain needs a way to minimize the complexity and focus on the things that really matter. Consistent problem-solving methods give your brain what it needs.

Six Sigma is a business management strategy aimed at decreasing statistical variation in processes. Minimizing defects (99.99966% defect free to be exact) is a primary goal. The approach that Six Sigma experts apply is referred to as the DMAIC Model.

In spite of the heavy use of statistics in Six Sigma, the steps of define, measure, analyze, improve, and control don't have to be complicated.

This site is about helping managers and business owners become better at solving problems. The typical business is no where near controlled enough to worry about Six Sigma quality. But the DMAIC approach can still be very helpful.


  • Define- Describe the problem. Create a problem statement. Understand what the customer expects. Be clear on your goals.

  • Measure- Summarize what you know. Figure out how you will track the problem and know if it is corrected. Go see and collect the data and information that matter.

  • Analyze- Determine the cause of the problem. Apply root cause analysis tools and common sense.

  • Improve- Do something that you think will improve the issue.

  • Control- Monitor the results using the measures you decided on in the measure stage. Continue to go see the work being done. Start over if needed.

Don't get hung up on being perfect. The reality is if you follow a systematic approach, you will be more disciplined than most. There is a ton of benefit found in taking the time to consider each step. Define, measure, analyze, improve, control. Do each one. Resist the urge to jump to improve.

DMAIC, PDCA, Shewhart Cycle, the scientific method...there is little new here. What would be new is the consistent application of these steps in business. Those that want to be great are discplined enough to choose and learn a consistent language of problem solving. Those that are great keep the customer at the center of their work.

As an opportunity for an indvidual to distinguish themselves as a high performer, defining, measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling each issue is big. It reflects the natural problem-solving needs of our brains and helps to make complex situations simpler.

Have you solved a business problem with success. Let me know here.


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