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Overview of Lean Six Sigma - Top 5 Principles, Characteristics, Features, Benefits

Manish Rathi

Manish Rathi

Last updated 22/05/2023

Overview of Lean Six Sigma - Top 5 Principles, Characteristics, Features, Benefits

Six Sigma is a set of management techniques carried out to improve the business processes by reducing the probability that an error and defect will occur.

Six Sigma is a disciplined and in demand method, which uses statistical based data driven approach and also a continuous improvement methodology for eliminating defects in a product, process or service.

History of Six Sigma

Six Sigma methodology starts from year 1979 wherein Mikel Harry and Bill Smith played a crucial role in the evolution of Six Sigma technology.  

Six Sigma was firstly developed by Motorola and helped them to win Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award; it became more popular when General Electric achieved the excellence in business by applying Six Sigma Methodology in the early 1990s. Currently there are numerous companies in the world who have adopted Six Sigma as a way of doing business.


Principles of Six Sigma:

Success of Six Sigma implementation is based upon five main principles:

  1. Concentrating on customer requirements
  2. Using accurate measurements to do error-less statistical analysis to understand improvement opportunities for building a solution for identification of root cause of problems (variations)
  3. Being efficient and capable to eliminate variation to continually improve the process.
  4. Involving manpower in Six Sigma cross-functional teams.
  5. Being thorough and being flexible

Characteristics of Six Sigma:

1. Data-Driven Approach:

Six Sigma emphasizes the collection and analysis of data to make informed decisions and drive process improvements.

2. Focus on Customer Satisfaction:

Six Sigma aims to understand and meet customer needs by delivering high-quality products and services.

3. Process Improvement Methodology:

Six Sigma follows a structured problem-solving methodology, often DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), to identify and eliminate defects and variations in processes.

4. Emphasis on Continuous Improvement:

Six Sigma promotes a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging organizations to constantly seek ways to enhance efficiency, reduce waste, and optimize processes.

5. Statistical Analysis and Tools:

Six Sigma heavily relies on statistical analysis and tools to measure process performance, identify root causes of defects, and validate improvement efforts.

6. Focus on Leadership and Teamwork:

Six Sigma emphasizes the involvement of leadership and the collaboration of cross-functional teams to drive change, implement improvements, and sustain results.

What are the main concepts in Six Sigma?

1. DPMO (Defects Per Million Opportunities)

six sigma equation

2. Critical to Quality:

Critical to quality is one of the major concept in Six Sigma methodologies because the quality can affect the whole business objective or Goal.

Critical to quality means the measurable characteristics of a product or service which must match the customer requirement of product or service.

3. Defect:

The defect is defined as a failure in product or service characteristics which are completely

4. Process Capability:

Process capability can be defined as an ability of your business processes to deliver or produce a service or product which meets the customer demands.

5. Variation:

Variation term is a bit different in Six Sigma methodology, here variation means after delivering service and product, the control person can measure the difference between the what customer sees and what they actual feel after acceptance of product or service.

6. Stable Operations:

Stable operations means not only the stabilizing the process but businesses have to ensure that the process of business in consistent to reduce the gap between what customer sees and feels.

Customer & Product Driven Features of Six Sigma Methodology:

  1. Six Sigma is designed to avoid waste and in efficiency, thereby increasing customer satisfaction by delivering what the customer is really expecting.
  2. Six Sigma is strictly structured and disciplined methodology, which is very specific for the particular participants.
  3. Six Sigma is statistical data driven methodology which requires accurate or error-less data to perfectly analyse the process.
  4. Six Sigma is not just about the improving quality and increase the sale; it’s about changing results in the financial statements also.
  5. By applying Six Sigma in your business you can successfully achieve the below milestones -also known as business success facts:
  • Improving Process
  • Lowering Defects
  • Increased Profit
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction
  • Reducing Costs
  • Reducing Process Variability

Six Sigma Methodologies totally revolves around one main cycle called DMAIC


DMAIC is a data driven quality strategy used to identify opportunities in the process to make improvements and reduce the errors and defects

DMAIC life cycle

D - Define-(Defining the problem, opportunities, business objectives, customer demands)

Here you define what opportunity are you looking for or we can say what problem you are trying to fix or simply what new business objective or customer demand you are trying to complete.

M - Measure performance

This is the crucial step for professional who are seeking out any opportunity to improve the service, process or product. Measurement is critical in the step and it must be accurate because you are trying to build solution on the basis of that measurement. In this process the measurement team has to focus on the process and what customer actually cares about.

A - Analyze opportunities

In this step the team has to analyze what is causing the problem and where there will be the opportunity to improve the process or service quality or cost or product. In this step team spend their time on finding root causes of problem and building the solution depending upon the results.

In this step mostly experienced and Six Sigma Green belt certified person analyze. The teams have to develop hypothesis according to finding and results and then define then work to prove or disprove the hypothesis.

I – Improve Performance

After implementing solution into process the teams have to concentrating on the factors which are crucial for improving the process or service or product. In this step the team have to collects data to check if there is measurable improvement or not if yes then the team will follow these process as a core process than pilot process and then finally improve the baseline ultimately it leads to improve the service quality or product quality which finally meets the customer satisfaction.

C - Control performance

This is the step in which team have to control the process and sustain the changes and improvement they made in the process or service. This is one of the most important activity required by the business because sustaining the improved process is very important to hold the service quality or product quality ultimately to hold the customer.

Benefits of Six Sigma to Businesses:

1. Lowering Defects:

Six Sigma completely revolves around only one principle i.e. reducing defects and ultimately increase the quality of product or service. So when an organization have Six Sigma implemented in their process, then the business will totally focus on that one principle based statistical data driven approach.

2. Reducing Cost:

This is one of the final and long term benefits businesses get when they have implemented Six Sigma in their process because Six Sigma implementation ultimately leads to reducing the defects which means saving of time, resources, power, manpower efforts and ultimately money.

3. Increased Customer Satisfaction:

Six Sigma and DMAIC implementation starts with measuring the variation which means measuring the gap between what the customer actually sees and feels. Over the successful Six Sigma implementation completion and if it is sustainable for business, then it will ultimately reduce the variation in the services or product which will automatically increase the customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.


Benefits of Six Sigma Certification

1. Helps to protect your organization to Avoid Errors:

If you are working in organization which needs improvement then your certification and skills gained during Six Sigma certification will help your organization to make better product or serve better service with minimum errors.

With Six Sigma certification and skills, you will be able to improvise the process and increase the profit of your organization. It will ultimately lead you to become an important asset for the company.

2. Higher Salary :

As per the survey on, you can see that Six Sigma certified professionals are getting highest salary and working in some of the top multinational companies.

Six Sigma Salary report by payscale

3. Increase your managerial and leadership ability:

When you are working as a Six Sigma professional in an organization then you have to undertake all the factors like finance, manpower, resources before taking any decision or before implementing any changes in any process or service or product.

Those who are achieved with Six Sigma Black Belt Certification are work as a Change Agent in their organization they have better understanding and knowledge about process and how to make it make it better.

To work as a leader in Six Sigma field you must have knowledge and understanding of financial management and risk assessment to perform a job without a error.

4. Large scope for Six Sigma across all the Industries:

Many individuals thinks that Six Sigma is only beneficial to manufacturing industry but actually six sigma is applicable to all types of industry. Service industry like IT, healthcare, hospitality needs to improve their service to provide 100% satisfaction to customers with completing their business objectives so all the service sector needs six sigma professionals to improve their overall business process and to complete business objectives.

5. Increase your productivity and capability:

After completing six sigma certification you are completing responsibility by doing less effort so the ultimate result will be increased productivity and capacity to handle large projects easily with sustainability.


pursuing a Six Sigma certification can bring a multitude of benefits to professionals seeking to enhance their career in quality management and process improvement. As discussed in this blog, the top five benefits of Six Sigma certification include increased job prospects, higher salary potential, improved problem-solving skills, enhanced leadership abilities, and the ability to drive organizational change.

These advantages stem from the comprehensive knowledge and skill set gained through Six Sigma training, which equips individuals with the tools and methodologies needed to identify and eliminate defects, optimize processes, and deliver exceptional results. By obtaining a Six Sigma certification, professionals can position themselves as valuable assets in today's competitive job market and contribute significantly to the success of their organizations.

Whether you are a quality professional or someone aspiring to enter the field, investing in a Six Sigma certification is a strategic move that can unlock numerous opportunities for professional growth and success.

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About Author

Manish has more than 13 yrs of experience in IT Industry and has worked as ITIL Head with expertise in the areas like Enterprise IT Transformation, ITSM, SIAM, Blockchain.



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