DMAIC Methodology – Definition

Cite this article as:"DMAIC Methodology – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated November 24, 2018, last accessed December 4, 2020,


DMAIC Methodology Definition

DMAIC is a statistically-driven, quality-improvement strategy used for improving and optimizing the business processes. The DMAIC approach is followed in Six Sigma quality control program.

In DMAIC, the D stands for define, M stands for measure, A stands for analyze, I for Improve and C for control. In DMAIC methodology these five steps are followed to achieve improvement. These steps are needed to be followed in the following order.

A Little More on DMAIC Methodology

  • Define – The first step is to define the problems, goals, scope of improvement and deliverables of the project. A team is formed, and they define a faulty process which needs attention by analyzing the company‚Äôs goal and requirements. Three main things are to be defined in this stage, a problem, the customers, voice of the customers and critical to quality.
  • Measure – It is one of the most important steps in DMAIC. In this step, the team develops a data collection plan and collect the required data from various sources. This forms the process performance baseline. This baseline is compared to the performance metric after the completion of the process to find out whether any significant improvement has been made. The team decides which data to be collected and how to collect it. The team needs to be engaged in an in-depth research before deciding upon the data as the data is crucial for DMAIC method.
  • Analyze – In this step, the root causes of the defect and poor performance are identified by analyzing the data. A large number of potential root causes are identified, then top three or four of them are selected either by using multi-voting or by any other consensus tool for further validation. The data are collected and analyzed for finding the valid root causes and the process is repeated until determining valid root causes.
  • Improve – In this step, improvements are made by eliminating the root causes. Innovative and creative solutions are developed using technology and discipline. Six Thinking Hats, Random words or simply brainstorming sessions can be used for developing the solution. It is important to select the most simple and obvious solutions. Then the potential solutions are tested using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. After getting the result the team tries to anticipate if there are any avoidable risks associated with the improvement process. This is done by Failure mode and effects analysis. Then the improvement plan is implemented to see results.
  • Control – This is the final stage for institutionalizing the improvement to ensure that it does not lose the track and become faulty once again.

DMAIC is used by the companies to solve the problems which seem unsolvable.

References for DMAIC Process

Academic Research on the DMAIC Process

Application of¬†Six Sigma DMAIC methodology¬†in a transactional environment, Antony, J., Singh Bhuller, A., Kumar, M., Mendibil, K., & Montgomery, D. C. (2012). International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management,¬†29(1), 31-53. This research illustrates the importance and effectiveness of Communication and Information Management in organisations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate and streamline the communication and information system within an ‚Äúinfrastructure support service‚ÄĚ company using Six Sigma methodology.

An analysis of the Six Sigma DMAIC method from the perspective of problem solving, De Mast, J., & Lokkerbol, J. (2012). International Journal of Production Economics, 139(2), 604-614. This research examines the use of DMAIC in problem solving, by highlighting problems that it can solve and those that it is ineffective against. The objective of this research is to show the limitations of the DMAIC method of Six Sigma in problem diagnosis and solving.

Application of Six Sigma DMAIC methodology in thermal power plants: A case study, Kaushik, P., & Khanduja, D. (2009). Total Quality Management, 20(2), 197-207. This research explains the use of Six Sigma in process industries. The reference company is an Indian Thermal energy manufacturer, looking for ways to reduce the consumption of water in a thermal power plant. It expresses how six sigma helps save cost of operation in the process industry.

SixSigma: the evolution of 100 years of business, Snee, R. D. (2004). Int. J. Six Sigma and Competitive Advantage, 1(1), 4-20. This research shows how Six Sigma has helped mankind particularly in the improvement of business performance. The objective of this research is to show how Six Sigma surpasses the models that existed before it, by using the reduction of newspaper errors as a case study.

A review and comparison of six sigma and the lean organisations, Bendell, T. (2006). The TQM magazine, 18(3), 255-262. The purpose of the paper is to review and compare six sigma and the lean organisation approaches to process improvement. The basis for combination and compatibility is evaluated and a holistic approach proposed.

Key ingredients for the effective implementation of Six Sigma program, Antony, J., & Banuelas, R. (2002). Measuring business excellence, 6(4), 20-27.  This research examines the benefits of Six Sigma in an organization. The reference company is Motorola, an American telecommunication company. The objective of this research is to show the various ingredients required for the success of Six Sigma method in any organization.

Six sigma in small-and medium-sized UK manufacturing enterprises: Some empirical observations, Antony, J., Kumar, M., & Madu, C. N. (2005). International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 22(8), 860-874. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of six sigma implementation in UK manufacturing SMEs.

Going from¬†six sigma¬†to design for¬†six sigma: an exploratory study using analytic hierarchy process, Ba√Īuelas, R., & Antony, J. (2003).¬†The TQM Magazine,¬†15(5), 334-344. This research examines the difference and similarities of six sigma improvement methodology compared with the DFSS approach by use of analytical hierarchy process (AHP). The objective of this article is to show the challenge faced by researchers when using AHP to transition from Six Sigma to design for six sigma.

The current state of six sigma application in services, Chakrabarty, A., & Chuan Tan, K. (2007). Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, 17(2), 194-208. This research examines the application of six sigma method in the manufacturing sector, and how its success inspires use in the service industry. The objective of this article is to show the application of six sigma across five main themes, and how these themes can determine the further application of this method in the service industry.

Improving on the Six Sigma paradigm, Goh, T. N., & Xie, M. (2004). The TQM Magazine, 16(4), 235-240. This article explores the different ways in which Lean Six Sigma can be used to improve Supply Chain Management.

Exploring the six sigma phenomenon using multiple case study evidence, Nonthaleerak, P., & Hendry, L. (2008). International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 28(3), 279-303. This research paper aims to explore areas of weakness in six sigma implementations that may require enhancements in the methodology, to investigate implementation differences between manufacturing and services, and to investigate critical success factors.

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