DMAIC: A Great Consulting Tool
Any consultant who use a five-box slide that looks like the one below to explain a project approach. . . chances are good it is some derivation of DMAIC. We use because it is simple, logical, and a good starting point.
D = Define. You need to define what problem you are looking at, and what your goal is. Without this step, you might be solving the wrong problem (happens all the time).
M = Measure. Before you can improve, you need to know where you are. This is often laborious and time-consuming, but critical. Are you getting a better price for the widget this time? Impossible to know if you don’t know what you paid last time. “You manage what you measure”
A = Analyze. This is where the data analysis and experience come into play. Figure out why things are wrong, broken, or not working. The majority of consulting tools fit in here: fish bone diagrams, Pareto charts, maturity models, business cases, waterfall charts, RACI charts, RFPs etc. . .
I = Improve. Make the change. This can take 1 week or 2-3 years. For strategy projects, consultants usually do the analysis, and make the case for change. Implementation is more often than not handled by the client – who does not want to pay the equivalent of 20 iPads per week per consultant for “implementing” the roadmap.
C = Control. This harkens back to the six-sigma concepts of statistical process controls, but let’s keep it simple. Keep your eye on the process and improve it as you need to.
When you are improving a process, start with DMAIC and see if it helps. As a silly mnemonic device: Don’t Marry An Insane Celebrity.