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

Shelby Anderson 05 November, 2019

Topics: Lean Six Sigma, Six Sigma, Companion by Minitab, DMAIC

Quality Professional looks at DMAIC or DFSS RoadmapsWhen you learn Six Sigma, familiarizing yourself with the alphabet soup of acronyms and abbreviations can be overwhelming. From FMEA and C&E Matrix to Gage R&R and SIPOC… the list goes on and on! DMAIC, DMADV, and DFSS can be some of the trickiest to keep straight because they sound so similar.

But it's OK. We're here to help with that!

DFSS, DMAIC and DMADV help quality improvement practitioners keep their projects focused with an established route to follow to completion. Each letter stands for a step of the processes.


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Starting with DFSS and 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
redesigning 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 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. (Statistical Process Control techniques are helpful in this phase).


Updated Companion Roadmap 10.30.19

Choosing Projects with DMAIC in Mind

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. Without measurements, you would 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, check out DMAIC Tools and Techniques: The Define Phase. Whether you are using DMAIC or DMADV, the real benefit of these methodologies is that they provide structured problem-solving to ensure success.

And when this information is available in a solution like Companion by Minitab, sharing the learnings is easier than ever.

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.

Put DMAIC or DMADV into Action Yourself 

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