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Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Six Sigma Heretic Will Google Earn a Black Belt?

Six Sigma

Six Sigma Solutions

Business Performance Excellence

Maximizing your profitability

Experimental Design

Solving the unsolvable in industry

On-site Training

On-site Training

And Make Black Belts Obsolete?

I read an article in Wired magazine the other day that got me to thinking about the relationship between statistics, engineering knowledge, and theory. The article claimed that with the era of massive data storage and analytical capabilities, the scientific concept of the “theory” was becoming obsolete. What implications does this have for people working with data to solve problems? Can we find solutions without a theory? Will Google obsolete the Black Belt?

As I have discussed before, define, measure, analyze, improve, and control (DMAIC), like other problem-solving methods is a modification of the scientific method. Here is a comparison of various problem-solving strategies as compared to a simplified version of the scientific method.

Table 1 - A comparison of the scientific method and various problem-solving strategies in industry

Scientific Method (from Wikipedia)

Ford 8D (from Wikipedia)

Shewhart Cycle (Deming Wheel)

Problem-Solving Strategy

Six Sigma

Define the question

  • Assemble a cross-functional team of experts
  • Define the problem fully


  • Reason for improvement
  • Define

Gather information and resources (observe)

  • Current situation
  • Measure

Form hypothesis

  • Implement and verify interim containment actions (ICAs) as needed. Also known as temporary fixes.
  • Analysis
  • Analyze

Perform experiment and collect data

  • Identify and verify root cause

Analyze data

Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis

  • Choose and verify permanent corrective actions (PCAs). preventive actions are also chosen.
  • Implement and validate PCAs Prevent recurrence of the problem/root cause


  • Countermeasures
  • Improve

Publish results

  • Recognize the efforts of the team



  • Results


  • Standardization
  • Future Plans
  • Control

Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

  • [Ongoing monitoring]

The key asp