The Measure phase is a crucial step in the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) process of Six Sigma. It focuses on gathering data and understanding the current state of the process. In this article, we will explore the 5 key deliverables of the Measure phase and understand their significance in process improvement.
Important acronyms in the DMAIC measure phase
Project management uses a lot of acronyms in its methodology and teaching. A key critical one to know is CTQ, which stands for Critical to Quality and relates to the desired outcomes of the clients. CTQs come in two categories, KPIV, which stands for Key Process Input Variable, and KPOV, which is a Key Process Output Variable. CTP, or Critical to Process, relates directly to KPIV and CTS, which stands for Critical to Satisfaction.
DMAIC process: Operational Definition Worksheet
Next, this article will detail the operational definition worksheet which is crucial to gathering good and reliable data. Operational Definitions worksheets can be used when collecting any and all types of data. The Operational Definition relates to Y variables, which are taken into consideration during the measure phase of DMAIC.
This is how you, as a project manager, will get a pulse on the baseline of the project performance as it is. Knowing this will allow you to communicate what is working to your team and make recommendations for improvements as you enter the measurement process.
Data collection plan or matrix
Data Collection Plan or Matrix comes next in the DMAIC process. After you have gathered data on the project, this stage will prompt you to check and ensure the data collected is accurate and applicable. You will also categorize data into X and Y variables.
Measurement System Analysis (MSA)
Measurement System Analysis, or MSA for short, comes next in the DMAIC process. MSA is the process of testing a hypothesis to see if there is a change in the measurement phase. You will make recommendations and hypotheses based on the data collected and then implement these changes to see if they promote a positive or negative change.
Some recommendations might not change a process at all! MSA can also be known as Gage R&R, which stands for Gage Repeatability and Reproducibility, outlining the need and goal of changes made and how you will measure their effectiveness.
Last, you will cover the baselined data stage, which is the final part of the DMAIC process. This stage refers to the data that has been collected so far in the project.
An overview of the DMAIC process Measure phase
The sample below gives you a bird’s-eye view of the DMAIC process, specifically the Six Sigma measure phase tools, which is often overlooked but extremely important. Knowing where a project stands and being able to measure results after a change is implemented is crucial to the effectiveness of a project team and the leadership of a project manager.
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Measure Phase – An Overview
In the measure phase, the team members:
- Measure the current processes or performance
- Identify the sources for making the data amiable (Identifying Units of Measurement / Measurement Scale)
- Develop Data Collection Plan (DCP)
- Describe the problem on the basis of data collected (Involving the usage of graphical tools)
During the measure phase of the DMAIC process, the project team will evaluate the current performance and effectiveness of a project. The goal is to get a pulse on how the project is performing so that everyone involved can be aligned on the current CTQ and CTP. After completing the data collection process, the team will ensure all data is accurate and applicable. The Define phase can help here, as the team will need to critically evaluate the usage of the data points.
It is the responsibility of the project team to decipher how to collect the data and clarify units of measurement to ensure the data is collected properly. There are four units of measurement that can be used here:
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Try the first two modules of Brain Sensei’s story-based PMP and CAPM Exam Prep courses and a mini practice exam and see how it all works
The Measure phase of the DMAIC process is essential for understanding the current state of a process and collecting data for analysis. The 5 key deliverables—process mapping, data collection, measurement systems analysis, data analysis, and process capability assessment—lay the foundation for effective process improvement. By following these deliverables, organizations can gain insights into process performance, identify improvement opportunities, and make data-driven decisions. Embrace the Measure phase as a critical step in the DMAIC process to drive process excellence and achieve desired business outcomes.
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