The Fivephase Model

IT organizations are accustomed to projects being broken into phases, typically those defined by a system development lifecycle (SDLC) model. Six Sigma initiatives are frequently described as using a DMAIC model, where DMAIC is an acronym for the five phases of a process improvement model. The phases and their primary objectives are listed in Exhibit 1.

Exhibit 1. The Five-Phase DMAIC Model

Phase

Objectives

Define

Identify the problem and the customers; define and prioritize the customers' requirements.

Measure

Confirm and quantify the problem; identify and measure the various steps in the current process; revise or clarify the problem statement, if necessary.

Analyze

Determine the root cause of the problem.

Improve

Develop and implement the solution.

Control

Measure the improvements and ensure that they continue.

While these may appear to be similar to a traditional SDLC, there are some important differences. The following example illustrates the use of the DMAIC model and Six Sigma processes in IT systems analysis.

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