There are all kinds of problems that occur on a daily base. And off course, we would like to solve all those problems as soon as possible. But, is this tension really the problem? And how to solve problems continuously. A well-known Lean Six Sigma method for problem-solving is the DMAIC method for a data-driven improvement cycle. It’s a structured way to work together on improving, optimizing and stabilizing processes.
DMAIC should be the method to choose if:
you need to improve a process
you need to create and implement a new process
the problem is difficult and complex
What steps to take for the practice
It’s a five-phase method:
Define - Measure - Analyze - Improve - Control.
Define will tell your team what to measure. Measure will tell your team what to analyze. Analyze will tell your team what to improve. And improve will tell them what to control.
Define: Look at the whole process from the beginning to the end, across departments. Often the problem is a consequence of an error in an earlier stage in the process. What is the real problem?
Measure: To measure is to know. If you don’t have reports available, just do it manually. Take a realistic timeframe and start measuring.
Analyze: What is the negative effect (waiting, manual labor, fall-out, defects) of the problem? How would solving this problem help your customers? Verify your findings with your colleagues and take action to solve them.
Improve: After analyzing, you know what should be improved. Do this! Implement quick wins immediately and make a roadmap for bigger improvements.
Control: Evaluate and put in controls to re-asses the process from time-to-time.
Another well-known technique to define your problem is the 5 times why’s technique to really get to the core of your problem.