The Basics of Structured Problem-Solving Methodologies: DMAIC & 8D

Andrea Grgic | 8/25/2022

Topics: Minitab Engage

When it comes to solving a problem, organizations want to get to the root cause of the problem, as quickly as possible. They also want to ensure that they find the most effective solution to that problem, make sure the solution is implemented fully, and is sustained into the future so that the problem no longer occurs. The best way to do this is by implementing structured problem-solving.

In this blog post, we’ll briefly cover structured problem-solving and the best improvement methodologies to achieve operational excellence.

Before we dive into ways Minitab can help, let’s first cover the basics of problem-solving.


Structured problem-solving is a disciplined approach that breaks down the problem-solving process into discrete steps with clear objectives. This method enables you to tackle complex problems, while ensuring you’re resolving the right ones. It also ensures that you fully understand those problems, you've considered the reasonable solutions, and are effectively implementing and sustaining them.


A structured problem-solving methodology is a technique that consists of a series of phases that a project must pass through before it gets completed. The goal of a methodology is to highlight the intention behind solving a particular problem and offers a strategic way to resolve it.


That depends on the problem you’re trying to solve for your improvement initiative. The structure and discipline of completing all the steps in each methodology is more important than the specific methodology chosen.

To help you easily visualize these methodologies, we’ve created the Periodic Table of Problem-Solving Methodologies.

Now let’s cover two important methodologies for successful process improvement and problem prevention: DMAIC and 8D.

DMAIC MethodologyDMAIC

DMAIC stands for “Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control”. The DMAIC methodology is one of the most popular methodologies in continuous improvement and operational excellence.

This methodology provides a structured five-phase framework when working on an improvement project. It focuses on improving an existing process, rather than creating a new product or process.

DMAIC is best suited for a complex problem, or if the risk is high.

8D Methodology8D

8D is known as the Eight Disciplines of problem-solving. It consists of eight steps to solve difficult, recurring, or critical problems. The methodology consists of problem-solving tools to help you identify, correct, and eliminate the source of problems within your organization.

If the problem you’re trying to solve is complex and needs to be resolved quickly, 8D might be the right methodology to implement for your organization.

Each methodology could be supported with a project template, where its roadmap corresponds to the set of phases in that methodology. It is a best practice to complete each step of a given methodology, before moving on to the next one.


Minitab EngageTM was built to help organizations drive innovation and improvement initiatives. What makes our solution unique is that it combines structured problem-solving methodologies with tools and dashboards to help you plan, execute, and measure your innovation initiatives!

There are many problem-solving methodologies and tools to help you get started. We have the ultimate end-to-end improvement solution to help you reach innovation success.

Ready to explore structured problem-solving?

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