DMAIC vs. DMADV vs. DFSS: A Guide on Six Sigma Terminology

Minitab Blog Editor 05 November, 2019

Quality Professional looks at DMAIC or DFSS RoadmapsWhen first learning about Six Sigma, it can be a little overwhelming to familiarize yourself with all the different terminology, methodologies, frameworks and acronyms included. From FMEA, C&E Matrix, to Gage R&R, SIPOC, and DMAIC…the list goes on and on!

The acronyms of DMAIC, DMADV, and DFSS can be some of the trickiest to keep straight though since they sound the most similar; however we can help you with that!

DFSS, DMAIC and DMADV are acronyms and abbreviations of methodologies used in conjunction with Six Sigma process improvement. All of these methodologies help quality improvement practitioners keep their projects focused with an established route to follow to completion. Each is comprised of words and phrases that represent a step of their processes and eventually make-up the acronym or abbreviation used throughout the Six Sigma community.


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Starting with DMADV

First off, DFSS stands for “Design For Six Sigma” and it focuses on the idea of creating a new product or process or completely
re-designing a product or process through a Six Sigma project. DMADV is a type of DFSS that is commonly used by many businesses and organizations.

DMADV stands for:

Define process and design goals
Measure (and identify) critical-to-quality aspects of your process/product, including risks and production capabilities.
Analyze to develop process designs and evaluate to select the best design for your process.
Design process details, optimize and test your design(s).
Verify the chosen design for your process with pilot-testing. Implement and monitor the new process.


A Focus on DMAIC 

DMAIC is a well-known Six Sigma project methodology that focuses is on improving an existing process rather than creating a new product or process or a complete redesign like DFSS or DMADV. In general, DMAIC methodology can be included as a part of other process improvement initiatives, such as lean, or enacted on its own.

DMAIC stands for:

Define the problem with your product or process.
Measure your current process and collect data.
Analyze your data to find the root causes of defects.
Improve your process based upon your data analysis and test it. (Techniques like DOE are often used in this phase.)
Control your new process and monitor for defects. (SPC techniques are helpful in this phase.)

One of the important components of good project selection is choosing a project most likely to benefit from the DMAIC approach meaning it involves a defect or a process with changes that can be measured accurately because without measurements you will be unable to detect any improvement.

Once you have a project focus, you begin to identify and define the problem to solve. For more information on this journey, visit DMAIC Tools and Techniques: The Define PhaseWhether you are using DMAIC or DMADV, the real benefit of these methodologies is achieved when an approach is completed in full without skipping any steps or phases.

Updated Companion Roadmap 10.30.19


Luckily with Companion by Minitab, it's easy to select, use and follow through with a variety of Six Sigma and lean methodologies.

Customized roadmaps can be quickly and seamlessly created to include any additional steps needed from your quality team and transform into templates for future projects, saving time and the hassle of recreating the same roadmap again and again.


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