Improve – DMAIC
One of the main targets for lean/six sigma projects is to improve business processes – therefore it’s not unsurprising that the DMAIC model has a section on Improve.
Steps and deliverables
The main deliverable from the Improve step is a solution(s) that affects the proven issues/problems (found earlier in the DMAIC process) affecting the business. Once deployed the solution should be stable and meet customer requirements
The first step is to develop possible solutions – there are a variety of ways of doing this and it’s likely that at first several solutions may present themselves while methods exist for improving, commonly project teams will brainstorm ideas based upon the “as is” process/value stream map and statistical data that has been collected – change agent teams are therefore required to evaluate possible ideas and develop the most suitable solution, often this is initiated via a “to be” process or value stream map – developing criteria that the solution must meet (e.g. critical quality requirements, customer needs etc) whilst removing the original problem areas. (this is important to remember that the chosen improvement must tackle the project goal!).
It’s common that once developed solutions may undergo pilot studies or experiments to ensure the optimal “fix” is selected. Once a solution has been selected a robust implementation plan will be required and a re-assessment of the Project charter will need to take place to ensure that the way forward meets the sponsor’s targets.