The Lean Six Sigma Roadmap – Define 2

How Can Lean Six Sigma Help?

To shortly recap our previous article, Define Section 1, Lean Six Sigma (LSS) was designed to drive continuous improvement. Lean Six Sigma is a process improvement strategy that eliminates inefficiencies, waste, and redundancies in a company’s process flow.  and develops solutions to address them.

By Applying The Lean Six Sigma DMAIC Process, Solution Are Developed and Our Journey For Continuous Improvement Begins.

The DMAIC Process is a strategy used for improving, optimizing, and stabilizing a wide variety of organizational and business processes.

The DMAIC process is a data driven improvement cycle designed to be applied to business processes to find and resolve flaws or inefficiencies resulting in output defects.

The DMAIC Goal is to Improve, Optimize, Or Stabilize Existing Processes.

This Article is a continuum of DMAIC Define Section 1.


At this point in our DMAIC Journey we have selected our project and the specific problem area to address. The problem area selected is most likely connected to a company’s strategic goals, and based on quantifiable metrics that will provide the greatest savings relative to the time expended and cost of deployment.

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Assuming Section #1 in the chart below has been completed, we can move on to Define Section #2.

Once your project has been selected, the following tools will be used in the DMAIC Define Phase Section #1 and #2:


Define Section #1

  • Project Charter
  • Gantt Chart
  • PERT Chart
  • RACI Diagram
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Communication Plan
  • Project Charter Evaluation (SMART)

Define Section #2 Covered

  • Detailed Process Map
  • Value Stream Map
  • Swim Lane Map
  • Customer Value Added Analysis
  • Process Cycle Time
  • Voice of the Customer

Define Section #2

  • Voice of the Business
  • Critical Customer Requirements (CCRs)
  • Develop Critical Business Requirements (CBRs)
  • Kano Model
  • Affinity Diagram
  • Define Gate Review

SIPOC DIAGRAM (Supplier-Input-Process-Output-Customer}
A SIPOC diagram is a tool used to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project before work begins. The acronym SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customer.

Using the five areas of the SIPOC, a high-level process map is created, giving a high-level overview of a Six Sigma project.

The SIPOC diagram is a logical way of looking at a process in terms of a series of steps, that converts an input into an output. Inputs come from suppliers, and the outputs go to customers. This diagram helps clarify the purpose and the scope of a process.

A process map is an extremely important visual planning and management tool that shows a series of events of your process workflow.  It shows who and what is involved in a process and can reveal areas where a process should be improved, which in turn, helps to identify redundancies and bottlenecks within a process. Only when you can visualize the individual tasks that make up your business processes, can you begin to reduce bottlenecks, streamline your operations, and optimize your resources.

Simple Process Map

Value-stream mapping (VSM) is a lean processing technique used to analyze, design, and manage the flow of services, materials, and information in your work process.  Value-stream mapping allows you to analyze your process in-depth and provide insight into where changes can be made to improve the efficiency of your workflow.

The primary purpose of a value stream map is to display every vital step of your workflow and evaluate if it brings value to your customer.

A swim lane map is a visualization tool used to illustrate each of the steps of a business process, with assigned responsibilities to avoid delays, logjams, and bottlenecks. A Swimlane Map is a process map that separates process into lanes that represent different functions, departments and/or individuals.

lean six sigma and statistical analysis


  • Customer Value Add (CVA):  Customer Value Added is an activity that the customer would be willing to pay for if they knew it was being done. This step in the process adds function and value to the product or service for the customer.
  • Business Value Add (BVA): This step does not add value but is a necessary step in the final value-added product or service. This activity is necessary for the process to operate even though the customer doesn’t directly receive benefit (BVA).
  • Non-Value Add (NVA): Non-value added is any action that does not add value to a product or service, value is defined by the customer.


  • Process Cycle Time (PCT) is the total time to move one item or service of work from the beginning to the end of a process. This process is used by many organizations to assess the time from release of a product or service until its completion.  This includes total process time and all the delays in the process.
  • PCT is an excellent and accurate indicator of how well your business is doing.


Voice of the Customer is the process of gathering and understanding customer responses to improve a product, service and a customer experience.  “Voice of the Customer” (VOC) is the expression of customer needs and desires captured by:

  • Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Surveys
    • Complaints
    • Compliments
    • Product Returns or Credits
    • Contract Cancellations

Voice Of the Business are the needs, wants, and expectations of the people who run the business itself.

  • Board advisors
  • Board members
  • Investors
  • Leadership/Executive teams

The voice of the business is derived from financial information and data.

Customer requirements evolve from the Voice of the Customer (VOC). It is critical to understand the underlying needs of your customer, which are generally expressed in terms of some qualitative statement. We need to drive to a specific customer requirement.

A customer’s desire that must be met, which is a strong correlation to the customer buying decision.

Critical Business Requirements refer to the needs of a business that are essential for success and survival. They are high-priority, non-negotiable and must be met in order for the business to function effectively.

Affinity diagrams are a business tool used for organizing facts, opinions and issues into natural groups as an aid to diagnosing a complex problem.

Affinity diagrams are generally used for categorizing ideas that are generated during brainstorming sessions which allow you to gather different ideas around a single topic and to show their natural relationships with each other.

The Kano Model is helpful in understanding different types of customer needs. This tool is used to prioritize features on a product or service, based on the degree to which they are likely to satisfy customers.

The Kano Model Differentiates Customer Needs into Three Types:

  • Dissatisfiers or Basic Needs: Expected features or characteristics of a product or service, basic functionality.
  • Satisfiers or Performance Needs: Standard characteristics that increase or decrease satisfaction,

Delighters or Excitement Needs – Unexpected features or characteristics that impress customers.


Let me remind you, that the material we just covered was a very brief topic overview.  The material in our Lean Six Sigma Training Course is not only thorough, detailed, user-friendly, and easy to understand, but also includes several Plug and Play Automated Excel Tools (50 plus) for Quick Analysis.

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Any Questions, Give me a call!
Edward Florancic
(602) 617-9282

Co-owner/Publisher, The Journal of Applied Business Statistics    

Edward ‘Rick” F. is a highly trained statistician and Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Professional. Rick has been a Senior Manager for two Fortune 500 corporations for over 35 years, and a Lean Six Sigma Consultant over the past 15 years. As a Consultant, Rick has saved companies over $53M by driving improved profit, improved revenue, and cost reduction strategies.