What Is DMADV?
DMADV steps or define, measure, analyze, design and verify works in Six Sigma essentially because of the last two steps—design and verify. Unlike DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) where the last steps are improve and control, in DMADV, the design and verify stages are utilized to enhance client and stakeholder satisfaction.
The best way to describe the DMADV Methodology is to use a project scenario. Let’s say an auto manufacturer receives consumer complaints on how their seatbelts fit the driver. Maybe they scratch their neck or are too bulky. Whatever the reason, the auto manufacturer knows the seatbelt is safe but customers don’t like them, hence the design and verify stage.
Another example could be the design of a dog bowl that offers inserts to ensure the dog doesn’t eat food too quickly. While the inserts do slow down the dog’s eating, if the bowl constantly tips over, then something’s wrong.
Image Credit: Wrinkles and His Dog Bowl (Mitchazenias) Wikimedia Commons
Using DMADV in Six Sigma
Six Sigma is a quality improvement process that, if used correctly, helps to ensure the end product is correct as delivered. The most popular choice in Six Sigma these days is the DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control).
Much like the fairly new DMEDI, (define, measure, explore, develop, and implement), DMADV is a quality process that is based on customers' wants and needs or complaints, once they are discovered.
In DMADV, customers are involved much as they are in the Agile Management Methodology, especially if you consider the design and verify phases—they are much like Agile user stories.
If we take the example of our seatbelt unacceptability, through using the DMADV process, the phases of DMADV might look like this:
- Define – Much like DMAIC, the define stage is where the end product or seatbelt is designed based on the client’s wants or desires.
- Measure – Measuring is how you will process the seatbelt as defined.
- Analyze – Through analyzing the process that will result in the end product, areas of improvement and changes are discovered through simulations, not users, so the actual driver never gets to test the seatbelt.
- Design – Here is when DMADV differs from DMAIC. It’s clear to the automaker that although the seatbelt will do what it’s supposed to do, the customer doesn’t like it. By revisiting the design based on end-user suggestions and input, the design can be restructured to please.
- Verify – Verification of the new design must be determined by the end-users. If complaints on the uncomfortable seatbelt cease, then the DMADV process has worked.
As Six Sigma’s popularity grows, so will its enhancements, phases, and choice of which quality improvement process will work best based on the project at hand. The decision on which is better, DMADV or DMAIC, may be best determined on the project or task set in front of you. Ultimately, project managers must make the decision on which process to take using Six Sigma; it should be per-project based and well thought out.
Image Credit: Seatbelt (Gerdbrendel) Wikimedia Commons