Measure Phase In DMAIC in Six Sigma


To thoroughly understand the current state of the process and collect reliable data on process speed, quality, and costs that you will use to expose the underlying causes of problems


  • Fully developed current-state value stream map
  • Reliable data on critical inputs (Xs) and critical outputs (Ys) to be used for analyzing defects, variation, process flow, and speed
  • Baseline measures of process capability, including process Sigma Quality Level, and lead time
  • Refined definitions of improvement goals
  • A capable measurement system
  • Revised project charter (if data interpretation warrants a change)

Key steps in Measure

  1. Create/validate a value stream map to confirm current process flow. Use a basic process map or deployment flowchart to get started. Add defect, time, and other process data to generate a value stream map.
  2. Identify the outputs, inputs, and process variables relevant to your project. You want to collect data that relates to your project goals and targeted customers.
  3. Create a data collection plan including operational definitions for all measures.
  4. Create a data analysis plan. Verify what types of tools can be used for the type of data you will collect. Modify your data collection plan as needed.
  5. Use Measurement System Analysis and Gage R&R , or other procedure to ensure accurate, consistent, reliable data.
    • If using measurement instruments, be sure to calibrate them if it hasn’t been done recently
      • Make sure Operational Definitions of all metrics are commonly used and applied by all data collectors
    • Collect data to establish baselines.
    • Update value stream map with data.
    • Use Little’s Law to calculate lead time.
    • Perform process capability evaluation.
    • Make quick-hit improvements if warranted by data analysis and risk analysis so you can get partial benefits now (be sure you are in a position to measure and show improvement), then continue with project.
      • Use a Kaizen approach or, minimally, follow guidelines on implementing obvious solutions
      • If solution ideas pop up but the risks are high or unknown, keep track of the ideas for potential implementation but continue with your DMAIC project
    • Prepare for Measure gate review.

Gate review checklist for Measure

  1. Detailed value stream map (VSM)
    • Documentation of people who were involved in creating the value stream map (should include representative operators, technical experts, supervisors, perhaps customers and selected suppliers)
    • Map showing the main process steps relevant to the project scope, along with the inventories/work in process, lead times, queues, customer demand (takt) rate, and cycle times for those steps
    • Supplier and customer loops clearly identified; output and inputs clearly understood
  2. Data and Metrics
    • Lists of key process output variables (KPOVs) and key process and input variables (KPIVs) identified and checked for consistency against the SIPOC diagram
    • Indications of how KPOVs are tied to Critical-to-Quality customer requirements (CTQs)
    • Notations on which KPOVs are selected as the primary improvement focus
    • Operational Definitions and data collection plan that were created, tested, and implemented for all metrics
    • Documentation of measurement system analysis  or its equivalent performed to ensure accuracy, consistency, and reliability of data
    • Notes on problems or challenges with data collection and how they were addressed
    • Notes on ANY assumptions that were made
    • Copies or printouts of completed data collection forms
  3. Capability Analysis
    • Time-ordered data collected on process outputs, charted on a control chart , and analyzed for special and common causes
    • Baseline capability calculations for key output metrics (Ys)
    • Product/service specifications framed in terms of external customer requirements or intenal performance expectations (note any assumptions made)
    • Documentation on reliability of the capability estimates (is the measurement process stable, and does it have the expected distribution?)
    • Project goals reframed in terms of shifting the mean, reducing variation, or both
  4. Updated project charter and plans
    • Project charter, financial benefits, and schedule timeline updated to reflect new knowledge
    • Project risks re-evaluated
    • Documentation of issues/concerns that may impact project success
    • Team recommendation on whether it makes business sense to continue with project
    • Detailed plans for Analyze, including anything that requires sponsor approval (changes in scope, budget, timing, resources)
  5. Quick improvements

Actions recommended for immediate implementation, such as:

    • Non-value-added process steps, sources of special cause variation that can be eliminated to improve process time and/or capability
    • Required resources (budget, training, time) for implementation.

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