DMAIC or DMADV: Which one to use?

DMAIC or DMADV: Which one to use?

Whether Manufacturing or Service, everything in business is a process, right? And where there is a process, there is a waste. (not physical but process related). Waste is anything that does not add value to a product or service. 

To read more on 8 deadly wastes that could cost your company click here

Now if you are a progressive organization you will try to reduce waste within the process. It is almost impossible to eliminate all waste, but by setting a target of zero waste you can cut it to a minimum. DMAIC and DMADV are two Six Sigma methodologies that eliminate defects from a process. Both are inspired by Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act principle.


It is an improvement system for existing processes failing below specifications and looking for incremental improvement. The acronym goes as Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control. These are five project phases.

a.    Define: During this phase the team defines the problem statement

b.    Measure: Here the team maps the current process (of the problem statement defined), gathers data, and              identifies and understands the root cause of the problem.

c.    Analyze: The team them analyzes the data & the process to reduce the defect & wastes of the existing                  process

d.    Improve: The moment the data & process is analyzed the team moves forward to work on the defects by              using the improvement ideas.

e.    Control: In the final phase the team will document how the process improvements will be passed on to the            employees who work within that processes.


It is an improvement system for developing new processes at six sigma quality levels. The acronym goes as Define-Measure-Analyze-Design-Verify. During these five project phases, the team will:

a.    Define: Here the project goals & deliverables are defined

b.    Measure: Once the goals are identified, the team will measure the factors that are critical to its deliverable

c.    Analyze: Here the teams will analyze different process options that will best meet the required deliverables

d.    Design: Here the team document the detailed process that meets the deliverables

e.    Verify: Here the team verifies that the goals & deliverables are achieved through the newly designed process.



All though both the methodologies are inspired from Deming’s PDCA cycle & share few common things it cannot be used together or inter-changeably as both the methodologies are used during different facets & based on the requirements.

What is common is that both are used to reduce the defect to less than 3.4 million opportunities and find quality related solutions using data & statistical tools   

When to use?

DMAIC: Used when product or process is in place and is not meeting existing or customers specification or is not performing adequately

DMADV: This is used when the product or process is not in place and one need to develop it or the existing product or process is optimized and it is still not meeting the specifications.

Implementation roles:

There are several key roles for its successful implementation

Top management: They are responsible for setting up a vision implementation. They also empower the other role holders with the freedom and resources to explore new ideas for breakthrough improvements by transcending departmental barriers and overcoming inherent resistance to change.

Champions: They take the responsibility for implementation across the organization in an integrated manner. The Executive Leadership draws them from upper management. Champions also act as mentors to Black Belts.

Master Black Belts: They are identified by champions, act as in-house coaches. They devote 100% of their time to such projects. They assist champions and guide Black Belts and Green Belts. Apart from statistical tasks, they spend their time on ensuring consistent application across various functions and departments.

Black Belts: They operate under Master Black Belts to apply methodology to specific projects. They devote 100% of their valued time to Six Sigma. They primarily focus on various project execution and special leadership with special tasks, whereas Champions and Master Black Belts focus on identifying projects/functions.

Green Belts are the employees who take up implementation along with their other job responsibilities, operating under the guidance of Black Belts.

Special training is needed for all of these practitioners to ensure that they follow the methodology and use the data-driven approach correctly. This training is very important.

Sigma levels

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