The Ultimate Guide to Six Sigma Principles and How Do They Work

January 31, 2022

DMAIC is the most popular quality program that has been in use for over two decades, mainly in business processes. A complete guide to quality assurance principles and their work has helped many managers succeed with its easy implementation. 

A brief introduction of these concepts will give you a good understanding of Six Sigma management. These principles have been set as guidelines for companies to look at their business processes and improve them with time. They include:

Measure to Manage

This principle deals with the fact that to manage something, you have to measure it first. This means that if you want to improve a process, its current status has to be measured and analyzed. You can’t improve what you don’t know. The process of measurement is called “Metric Design.”

Focus on the Vital Few

This is one of the most critical corporate quality assurance principles that businesses must follow to improve their business processes effectively. The vital few affect a process when changed, while the trivial many do not. 

For example, in a room full of 100 people, if you change the lighting and 10% of the people get irritated, it is a vital few. On the other hand, if there are five items on a table and two of them are red and three green while you switch one to red too, it’s a trivial many.

Standardize the Process

Once you have designed your process for optimum results, it must be followed in a standardized manner to be repeated and reproduced time after time to yield the same results. This is called “Measurement Management.”

The step also helps save time and minimizes errors involved in quality testing.

Optimize the Process

Once you have measured your current practices or processes, it’s time to improve them. This process is called “Process Design” and involves designing new processes to prevent and detect flaws to achieve desired results.

Here is where you look at the results achieved by following your process and see if they are still up to their actual potential. If not, then you must improve them.


This principle is about improving your processes within a specific boundary or limit. This means you mustn’t cross the line, hence the name “bold.” This principle helps prevent both under-improvement and over-improvement of a process.

Define Critical-To-Quality Characteristics

This principle is relatively self-explanatory. You must identify critical-to-quality characteristics of your product or process so that you can focus on improving them further for achieving maximum results. 

This principle deals with the fact that there are several aspects to improve in a given process, and focusing on only one may not yield the best results in a particular scenario.

Every Process has Variation

This principle states that there is a degree of variation in the result every time it is repeated in any process. Although this variation can be pretty random and uncontrolled at times, some techniques help control them when they’re identified. 

This principle deals with the fact that you must know the amount of variation in a process before controlling it. Focusing on variations helps eliminate opportunities for defects.

Improve from Within

This principle deals with the fact that a business must not rely on outside factors to improve its process but rather on internal growth and development. This way, managers can identify business shortfalls and work towards them while improving overall growth.

Employ Mastery Over Tools

This principle deals with the fact that while it is essential to focus on using quality assurance tools, they are not the only thing to improve processes. According to this principle, you must master these tools before utilizing them to get maximum results.

Be Precise & Specific

This principle talks about being precise while measuring your process or products. So, the measurements must be exact and accurate enough to yield the best results. 

This principle ensures that your measurements are accurate after considering all factors that may affect a given process. Your measurements should not be skewed as a result of any such factor.

Measure What Matters Most

This principle deals with identifying and measuring just those variables in a process that affect its outcome and yield results. This step is essential because if you measure too many different factors, you might get confused and fail to identify the one that matters.

Wrapping Up

Quality Engineering is a vast subject, and there are many more theories and concepts associated with it that help improve business processes. All these principles have to be followed as per their guidelines to achieve the maximum benefits from your Six Sigma program. It is also vital to be flexible and responsive while implementing this system in your business.

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