The Measure Phase of a Lean Six Sigma Project
The purpose here is to fully understand the current state of the process and collect reliable data on process speed, quality, and costs that you’ll use to expose the underlying causes of problems.
In essence you are identifying all possible causes by the use of cause and defect tools.
The main deliverables of the measure phase are:
The measure phase is vital as it provides the framework around which the design can be built, and the basis for the design decisions needed in further phases.
The measure phase focuses on defining and understanding customer needs and understand the different customer segments.
After you have defined the problem, you need to clarify how and how well the work gets done. You will want to understand the current situation of your process, what it looks like, and how it is performing. You need to know what is meant to happen and why.
Understanding the current performance of your process is essential as this will become your baseline. You must measure what is important to the customer and remember also to measure what the customer sees.
Identify all possible Causes (Cause & Effect)
The team brainstorms to identify all possible causes or reasons for the occurrence of the problem, and there is a direct linkage between the project charter and this deliverable.
Potential Causes are suspects that are causing the problem. However, before acting on them, the team needs to gather data or facts to validate them.
The Fishbone diagram (also known as also called as Ishikawa or Cause and Effect diagram) is a structured brainstorming method used to carry out this activity.
After completing this brainstorming, the team applies the 5-why technique to further explore the underlying causes for all the reasons identified in the fish-bone diagram.
At the end of these two activities, the team has an exhaustive list of possible causes for the problem. Usually there are around 50 to 100 possible causes for the problem.
It is the responsibility of Six Sigma Green Belt to facilitate these activities.