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Six Sigma Lecture Notes

Define (DMAIC)

What is the problem you're trying to solve?


Define What problem are you trying to solve Tools Used
1. Understand customer and business requirements What does the problem look like from your customer's perspective? "Voice of Customer"
Affinity Diagram
Translating Needs to Requirements
Kano Analysis
Critical to Quality (CTQ) Tree
2. Complete Project Charter How do you know there is a problem?
What specific measures indicate there is a problem?
Project Charter
ARMI (Approver, Resource, Member, & Interested Party)
RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, & Informed)
Threat vs Opportunity Matrix
Stakeholder Analysis
Elevator Speech
3. Complete high-level, "as is" process map Where is the problem occurring? SIPOC (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers)

Understanding the Voice of Customer

Voice of Customer

  1. Define your Customer(s) (AIPCS):
    • Associates - Feedback from Employees
    • Investors - Feedback from Mgmt & Shareholders
    • Customers - Feedback from clients & end-users
    • Processes - Feedback from measuring Critical to Process & Critical to Quality parameters
    • Suppliers - Feedback from suppliers and vendors
  2. Collect customer feedback in various forms:
    1. Surveys
    2. Focus groups
    3. Interviews
    4. Observations
    5. Suggestions
    6. Complaints
    7. Compliments
    8. Other technology driven social media platforms
  3. Translate Voices to requirements (chart)
    1. Verbatim - Take exactly what the customer said
    2. Critical customer criteria (Need) - Write excerpts from the customers verbatim showcasing the customer's need
    3. Critical to Quality (CTQ) (Requirement/Performance) - Write the customer's need in measurable terms

When to use Affinity Diagrams

An Affinity Diagram is used to analyze large amounts of unstructured data. It is generally used in Step 1 of Define phase. It can also be used as a Standalone Tool.

Prioritizing Requirements using the Kano Analysis

Kano Analysis is used when you have a laundry list of requirements and what to prioritize critical requirements from that list. It helps the organization channelize 3 key factors, namely: Time, Money, & Resources.

Kano Analysis model helps to:

  • Analyse customer requirements
  • Prioritize requirements in order of importance to the customer.

Kano Analysis components:

  1. Must Be's
    • Basic Needs - Expected features or characteristics; typically unspoken
    • Dissatisfiers - If not fulfilled, customers will be highly dissatisfied with the product or service
  2. One-Dimensional Customer Requirements
    • Performance Needs - Standard characteristics of a product or service, typically spoken
    • Satisfiers - Increase or decrease satisfaction levels by their degree of presence
  3. Delighters
    • Excitement Needs - Unexpected features that impress your customers and help your company earn the right recognition; typically unspoken

The Kano Analysis Grid is a cortesian plot where X is Dysfunctional to Fully Functional, and Y is Dissatisfied Customer to Satisfied Customer. Must Be's/Basic Needs are in the bottom half of the plot, where Dysfunctionality leads to Customer Dissatisfaction, but Full Functionality doesn't lead to positive Satisfaction. One-Dimentional Requirements are a (1/1) correlation, where Satisfaction increases & decreases with Functionality. Delighters are in the top half of the plot, where Functionality increases Satisfaction, but Dysfunctionality doesn't lead to negative Satisfaction.

Steps to create a Kano Analysis:

  1. Classify the requirements as:
    • Must Be's
    • One-Dimensionals
    • Delighters
  2. Fill out the Kano Analysis Grid diagram by adding requirements to the specific classifications on the diagram
  3. Prioritize the Requirements:
    1. Must Be's
    2. One-Dimensional
    3. Delighters

CTQ Drill Down Tree

The CTQ Drill Down Tree is a tool that can be used to effectively convert customers' needs and requirements into measurable product or service characteristics, or metrics. It helps establish linkage between the Project "Y" and the business "Y". It also bounds the project well to make it more manageable.

This tool is used when you have requirements that need to be converted to metrics.

General <--------------> Specific Need -> Drivers -> CTQs (Metrics)

Project Charter

The Project Charter is created at the beginning of a Lean Six Sigma DMAIC project, though it may be updated at any time during the project, as needed. It is considered a Living Document, not static, and ensures that the team has a mutually agreed upon objective, scope, benefit, target, & timeline.

Your Project Charter should be written in layman's terms. It should be:

  • Jargon-free,
  • Simple,
  • Understandable, and
  • Key points should be discussed in a crisp and clear manner.

The 6 steps to creating a Project Charter are as follows...

The Business Case

Helps to understand how the project is linked with the overall business objectives, and should answer the following questions:

  • Why should the project be done?
  • Why should the project be done now and not later?
  • What are the risks associated with not doing the project?
  • Which of the business objectives does the project address?
  • What is the financial impact of the project, if any?

Do not include a cause, blame, or solution within the Business Case statement.

The Problem Statement

The Problem Statement should quantitatively descript the pain in the current process. Problem statements should include 4 components:

  1. Description of "what" is the problem?
  2. "When" and/or "Where" is the problem occurring?
  3. What is the magnitude of the problem?
  4. What are the consequences of the problem?

Problem statements should not include assignments of cause or blame, nor should they include a solution statement.

The Goal Statement

The Goal Statement is a simple one-line satement that defines the improvement the team is seeking to accomplish. The Goal Statement:

  • Starts with a verb;
  • Has a deadline;
  • Is actionable and sets the focus of the project; and
  • is SMART:
    • Specific,
    • Measureable,
    • Attainable,
    • Relevant, and
    • Time-bound

Do not include a cause, blame, or solution within the Goal statement.

The Project Scope

Helps us understand the start and end-point for the process and also gives an insight on project constraints & dimensions.

There are 2 types of Scope statements:

  1. Longitudinal (or Length) scopes define the start & end of the Process
  2. Lateral (or Width) scopes define a particular geography within the company

Both types of Scope may be included in the same Scope Statement. A scope statement should also identify what is specifically out of scope.

Incorrect scoping or constant changing of scope is "Scope Creep", and is one of the two major reasons why most projects fail (the other being "ineffective communication").

Seek an understanding of your project scope from your Project Champion at the beginning of the project, and do not change it unless there is an an uncontrollable situation or a valid & unavoidable business justification.

The Project Team

Project roles include:

  • Project Champion
  • Master Black Belt (MBB)
  • Black Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Yellow & White Belts
  • Other SMEs (Subject Matter Experts)
Dos Don'ts
Identify a diverse project team, including people from all appropriate departments Don't hire team members just because you know them
Select members based on skills & abilities Don't forget to monitor the progress of your team members
Ensure you take necessary approvals for all resources Don't forget to add project related work in the goals of your team members
Meet with your project team regularly & delegate meaningful sub-projects to them Don't be authoritative (unless explicitly required)
Show your team members the larger picture of your project Don't be a micro-manager
Encourage your team members
Identify opportunities to praise them
Be a good listener
Keep the Project Champion involved

The Milestones

Fill out the following table:

Phase Planned Start Date Planned End Date Actual Start Date Actual End Date

Project Acceptability & CAP Tools

The effectiveness of your project solution is dependent upon two key factors:

  • the Quality of the solution, and
  • the acceptability of that solution.

Project Acceptability is simply "how acceptable is your solution to key stakeholders?"

For a solution to be 100% effective, quality plays a 20% role and acceptability plays an 80% role.

It is important to create a "shared need" between stakeholders as early as possible in your project journey as it helps to:

  • Build momentum for the initiative;
  • Prepare your people and organization for the changes to come; and
  • Answer WIIFM? - What's In It For Me?

The following Change Acceleration Process ("CAP") Tools will assist in identifying & communicating that shared need.

ARMI (Approver, Resource, Member, Informed/Interested Party)

An ARMI Map is a table that identifies where & how individual team members will be utilized during the DMAIC process.

  • Approver: the individual who will approve the team's decisions
  • Resources: the resources of the team, ones whose expertise & skill set may be needed
  • Members: the members of the team, with the authorities & boundaries of the Charter
  • Informed/Interested Parties: ones who will need to be kept informed on direction & findings of the project.

Example ARMI Map:

Project Member Role Define Measure Analyze Improve Control
(Name) Champion Approver Approver Approver Approver Approver
(Name) Master Black Belt Approver Approver Approver Approver Approver
(Name) Black Belt Resource Resource Resource Resource Resource
(Name) Green Belt Resource Resource Resource Resource Resource
(Name) Trainer Member Member Resource Resource Resource
(Name) SME Resource Member Resource Resource Resource
(Name) Sr Mgmt Informed Party Informed Party Informed Party Informed Party Informed Party

RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed)

The RACI matrix is used to assuss key stakeholder roles and responsibilities for the area under study. It stands for:

  • Responsible - Full time member of the team, the individual who is actually responsible for the task
  • Accountable - the individual who is ultimately answerable for the activity or the decision
  • Consulted - individuals whose opinions are sought, typically SMEs
  • Informed - individuals who need to be kept up-to-date on progress

Example RACI Matrix (See Example ARMI Map)

Threat vs Opportunity Matrix

Captures threats to the business of not pursuing the project, vs opportunities for pursuing the project.

Example TVO Matrix

Threat Opportunity
Short-term Failure to meet industry standard of 6m AHT
Displeased Customers
Long wait time for the customer to speak with an associate
Meet industry standard AHT Target and compete on an even ground with other banks
Quick Resolution leading to increased customer satisfaction
Customers do not have to wait on hold for an associate
Long-term Dissatisfied customers will turn to competitors
Lost business
Lost Marketshare
Lost Reputation
More business & more referrals from satisfied customers
Lower sales expenditure
Cost savings of more than $700K
Potential of increasing market share & market reputation

Stakeholder Analysis

A process of identifying those people and functions that will be impacted by a change. A Stakeholder Analysis identifies each stakeholder's position regarding the change & identifies strategies and plans to address those postitions.

The term Stakeholder refers not only to Senior Management, but to team members of the project, as well.

A Stakeholder Analysis should be conducted early in the DMAIC process. Results of this tool can be used to influence the project's charter & scope, and should be revisited and revised as needed throughout the DMAIC journey.

Example Stakeholder Analysis Grid

Stakeholder Type Group Project Impact on Stakeholder (H,M,L) Stakeholder level of influence on project success(H,M,L) Stakeholder's current attitude toward the project (+,0,-) Explanation of stakeholder's attitude (list) Score Action plan for Stakeholder
Executive Sponsor Head of EMEA L H 0 Multiple Priorities 6 Engage with results, anticipated financial benefit of improved performance
Champion Head of Americas H H - Previous Failed Projects 9 Early workshop C&E - Inclusion in solution development
Stakeholder Head of Static Data, US H H - Previous Failed Projects 9 Early workshop C&E - Inclusion in solution development
Stakeholder Head of EIS Support H M + Frontline face off to clients - need better news 6 VOC participation
Stakeholder Head of Account Admin. Compliance & Support H M 0 Does not feel the pain - KYC and risk avoidance is priority 7 Engage with results & head of EMEA feedback
Stakeholder Transitions Team H L + Frontline face off to clients - need better news 5 VOC participation
Stakeholder Static Data Input M M - Previous Failed Projects 8 Early workshop C&E - Inclusion in solution development


  • H,M,L = 3,2,1
  • +,0,- = 3,2,1

Elevator Pitch

A short 3-60 second business pitch. Should be targeted to your audience and be simple, compelling, and under 100 words. This Elevator Pitch helps in getting you the support and commitment of key stakeholders.

The pitch should answer the following questions:

  • What is the situation or issue?
  • Why is that a problem?
  • What do you plan to accomplish?
  • How big a difference do you hope to make? and,
  • How will you know (measure) the outcome?

Example Elevator Pitch:

Did you know that customer satisfaction is the number one issue for most of the existing businesses in our organization? Their issue is not that the performance of our business processes has deteriorated, it's that the other organizations have, with the help of technology, raised the standards of servicing their customers. I know that if we focus on improving customer satisfaction with a slightly heightened focus on technology, it would help us service our customers the same way our competitors are servicing them. As a result, we will continue to remain number 1 in our chosen area of expertise and we will also reduce the operating cost not just for this location, but for all the locations of our organization.


  • Don't speak too quickly;
  • Don't use technical jargon, acronyms, or slang (except where appropriate to your audience)
  • Don't beat around the bush, stay focused
  • Don't sound robotic, the pitch should be delivered fluidly

Communications Plan

Example Communications Plan:

Sr. No. Communication Category Frequency Mode of Communication Time Key Participants
1 Champions Meeting Meeting (Call) 1 Hour Operations Directors, Quality & Reengineering Head, Operations Head, Project Team
2 Project Panel Review For Kick-off & for Closure Meeting 1 Hour Operations Directors, Finance Head, Risk Head, Control Head, Quality & Reengineering Head, Project Team
3 SDL Meeting Bi-weekly Meeting 1 Hour SDL, Project Team
4 Project Meetings Weekly Meeting (Call) 1 Hour MBB, BB, GB, Project Team members
5 Process Performance Daily Email - Project Team & Internal TOA Employees
6 Weekly Mass Mailers Weekly Email - Project Team & Internal TOA Employees
7 Share point Discussion Threads Every Alternate Day Sharepoint discussion thread - Followers of NIGO Error Reduction Project Sharepoint Group
8 Toll Gate reviews Toll Gate Schedule Meeting (Call) - SDL, MBB, BB, GB, Project Team members
9 Ad hoc Meetings As required Meeting (Call) As required As required

Complete the high-level "as is" process map (SIPOC)

Process mapping is the graphic display of steps, events and operations that constitute a process. It's a pictorial illustration which identifies the steps, inputs and outputs, and other related details of a process by providing a step by step picture of the process as is. It is created using the combined knowledge of all people associated with the process. It is a team effort and is documented by everyone who contributes to the process and is a part of the process.


  • Suppliers - whomever provides the inputs to your process
  • Inputs - product or data that a process does something to/with to deliver the required output
  • Process - activities that must be performed to satisfy your customer's requirements and deliver the outputs
  • Outputs - product or data that results from the successful operation of a process
  • Customers - whomever receives the outputs of the process

Steps to create a SIPOC

  1. Establish a suitable title for the diagram
  2. Define the start nd end of the process to be improved
  3. Identify the top level steps of the process
  4. List the key outputs of the process
  5. Define the customers of those outputs
  6. List the inputs to the process
  7. Devine who supplies inputs to the process

Measure (DMAIC)

What is the extent of the problem?

Measure What is the extent of the problem? Tools Used
4. Identify what to measure What does the detailed process currently look like?
What is the output (Y) and the primary measures (X)?
Process Maps
8 Wastes
Process Map
Takt Time
5. Plan & Collect Data How can we ensure data collection is robust?
What does the data say?
XY Matrix
Data Collection Plan
Operational Definition
Measurement System Analysis
6. Determine baseline performance Is the process stable?
Is the process capable of meeting the customer requirements?
Run Chart
Normality Test
Process Capability - Discrete Data
Process Capability - Continuous Data

Process Map

Visually displays step-by-step process activities & flow of information across different departments / sub-processes in time sequence.

The Process Map helps to:

  • identify the roles & responsibilities of different functions of the process;
  • identify dependencies & bottlenecks in the process;
  • understand the interaction between the process and technology / application requirements

Steps to create a process map:

  1. Assemble the right team
  2. Select and prepare the room
  3. Set the agenda for the meeting
  4. create the map
  5. document issues, disconnects, opportunities & process measures
  6. validate the map
Dos Don'ts
DO map the process as it actually happens DON'T map the process as you think it should happen
DO think about the process across the entire organization DON'T restrict your process map to the activities in your own department
DO talk to the other people who are involved in the process DON'T work in a vacuum
DO define the beginning and end of the process before you start DON'T attempt to process map before you identify a beginning and an end
DO the process map at a high level DON'T get bogged down with too much detail
DO ask questions DON'T struggle on your own

8 Wastes

"Waste" is defined as "anything other than the minimum amount of information, equipment, materials, & effort absolutely required to add value to a product or service."

The principles of LEAN identify 8 different categories of waste that we can have in our business processes.

The 8 Wastes (DOWNTIME) are:

  1. Defects - rejects that require additional time & resources to fix;
  2. Over Production - producing too much, or too soon;
  3. Waiting - when work has to be stopped for some reason;
  4. Non-Utilized Skills - failure to utilize the time & talents of people;
  5. Transfer (Transportation) - unnecessarily moving things around or transferring work across platforms or teams
  6. Inventory - items stuck in processing; idle financial or fixed assets
  7. Motion - inefficient placement of resources creating unnecessary motion
  8. Excess Processing - excessive processing of transactions

Discrete vs Continuous Data

Discrete Data (aka "Attribute Data") has a finite number of possible values that cannot be meaningfully subdivided (like product counts).

Continuous (or "Variable") Data is information that can be measured on a continuum or scale, and which can be meaningfully subdivided into finer & finer increments (like time or temperature).

Data Collection Plan

Used to identify key data to be collected and the procedures around how that data is to be collected (how often, how much, who will be collecting).

Data Sampling

Simple Random Sampling is a method of sampling in which every unit has an equal chance of being selected.

Stratified Random Sampling is a method of sampling in which the data are organized into subsets or groups, and then units are selected randomly from each group.

Systematic Sampling is a method of sampling in which every n-th unit is selected.

Measures of Central Tendancy & Dispersion

Measures of Central Tendancy are the:

  1. Mean (the average of the data)
  2. Median (the midpoint of the data)
  3. Mode (the most commonly occurring datapoint)
  4. Quartiles (divides data in to 4 equal parts)

Measures of Dispersion/Variation are determined by

  1. Standard Deviation (Avg distance from the mean to each datapoint)
  2. Variance (the Square of the Std Dev)
  3. Range (the difference btwn the largest and smallest datapoints)

Run Charts

A measure of your data's stability. Data is considered "stable" if it contains only minor fluctuations. Stable data is always considered best for data analysis.


  1. Defect A problem with the unit
  2. Unit The item being measured
  3. Defective A pre-defined limit to the number of Defects that can be found in a unit
  4. Opportunities for Error (OFE) The number of possible Defects within a Unit


A form with 8 parameters, for which errors in at least 3 parameters is considered "defective" The form is the Unit, a problem with any parameter is a Defect, 3 errors is a Defective, and the OPE is 8

Process Capability

1 - Compute the defects per opportunity

DPO = D / (O * U), where:

  • D = Total number of defects
  • O = OPE per Unit
  • U = Total number of Units

2 - Compute Defects Per Million Opportunities

DPMO = 1,000,000 * DPO

3 - Look Up DPMO in the Sigma Conversion Table

Six Sigma Conversion Table

Analyze (DMAIC)

Why is the problem occurring?

Analyze Why is the problem occurring? Tools Used
7. Identify performance gaps What are the sources of variation and waste?
What are the potential causes of the problem?
Fishbone Diagram
5 Why Analysis
8. Ascertain critical root causes What do your stratified graphs reveal?
What do your stratified data reveal?
Pareto Chart
Box Plot
Scatter Plot
Control Impact Matrix
9.Validate root causes How do you know these are the vital few root causes? 1-Sample t
2-Sample t
Paired t
Test of Equal Variances
1-Sample Design
Moods Median
Correlation Analysis

Improve (DMAIC)

What is the extent of the problem?

Improve What is the extent of the problem? Tools Used
10. Generate, prioritize, & select potential solutions What will address the root causes?
How do the solutions address specific root-causes identified?
What solutions have been selected, and why?
What is the cost-benefit analysis?
Brainwriting 6-3-5
Assumption Busting
Analogy Technique
Channeling Technique
Anti-Solution Technique
Generic Pull
Solution Selection
11. Pilot solutions How do you know your solutions will be successful?
What are the risks inherent in your solutions?
Pilot Plan
Implementation Planning
Risk Analysis
12. Validate impact of solutions How do you know the problem has been solved?
How will you track on-going benefits?
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Measurement System Re-Analysis
Process Capability

Control (DMAIC)

How will you ensure that the problem remains fixed?

Improve How will you ensure that the problem remains fixed? Tools Used
13. Institutionalize solutions What is the plan to implement the solutions?
Who is doing what?
How will you track process performance?
What action will be taken if the problem returns?
Team Huddles

Control Charts
Control Plan
14. Replicate & share best practices How will you capture knowledge related to best practices and what makes them effective? Communication
15. Celebrate & recognize success How will you share your results? Celebrate
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