Last Updated on 17 September 2023
The Define phase in Six Sigma’s DMAIC process is the initial step and serves as the foundation for the rest of the project. This phase involves setting the scope, objectives, and targets of the project while building a team and securing management support.
Choosing your project
Before you choose your project, you will want to listen to :
- Voice of the customer, from which you can get your critical to quality criteria
- Voice of the business
- Voice of the process
- Voice of the employee
Once you have those, you can move on to project selection.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the components of the Define phase:
1. Define the Problem:
- Identify the problem and its impact on the organization.
- Clearly articulate the problem statement.
2. Define the Project Objective:
- Set the specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives for the problem being addressed.
- Clearly outline what the project aims to achieve and how it aligns with larger organizational goals.
3. Define the Scope:
- Identify what processes or areas will be impacted by the project.
- Set the boundaries and limit the scope to what is achievable for the project.
4. Define the Customers and their Requirements:
- Identify all internal and external customers affected by the problem.
- Understand their standards and expectations – these could be customers who receive the product or service, or other processes downstream of the one being improved.
5. Assemble the Cross-functional Team:
- Identify and recruit team members who understand or are part of the process being improved.
- Cross-functional team members bring diversity of thought, ideas, and insights to solve the problem more effectively.
6. Develop the Project Charter:
- Document the problem, objectives, and scope for the project.
- State customers and their requirements, identify team members, and define the preliminary timelines and resources.
7. Obtain Management Approval:
- Gain endorsement and support from top-tier management for the project.
- Ensure that the project aligns with the organization’s strategic goals and has sufficient resources allocated for successful completion.
The Define phase sets the tone and direction of the Six Sigma project, but it is easy to rush as everyone is keen to get started on the project. Taking the time to do this properly though can really pay off with a well defined, organized project.