DMAIC — a Six Sigma process improvement strategy

A man in a living room puts DMAIC into practice.

If you’re working on or alongside teams using Six Sigma, perhaps you’ve heard of DMAIC or read about it before. But to take advantage of DMAIC, you might need a brief refresher on what the term means and the different steps involved with it.

This article will give you a solid understanding of DMAIC and how it works within Six Sigma. We’ll discuss:

What is DMAIC?

DMAIC is a five-step process improvement methodology and an acronym that stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. Part of the Six Sigma framework, DMAIC (pronounced de-may-ick) helps organizational teams refine their processes for the best possible outcomes.

Originally designed for manufacturing by Toyota, DMAIC and Six Sigma are now used by many businesses across different industries as a data-driven approach to continuous improvement.

The five phases

A graphic shows the five phases of DMAIC.

Let’s take a look at each of these five steps in a little bit greater detail.


The aim of the define phase is to outline what problem you’re trying to solve. At this stage, teams should determine the goal of the process improvement cycle, which customers or stakeholders will be helped, and what success would look like. A value stream map can be helpful for visualizing and analyzing the present state of the entire process.


The goal of the measure phase is to quantify the problem. Your team needs to find out how well the process currently works, which metrics to monitor throughout the process, and what data will be collected. Data should be gathered from each step along the way to identify opportunities for improvement.


During this phase, you identify the cause of the problem. Teams dig into the data they collected to determine what needs improvement and why. Root cause analysis can be helpful during this phase of the process as an actionable structure for thinking about a problem and identifying the best way to solve it.


In this phase, your goal is to improve upon the issues discovered in the previous stage. The team needs to work together to fix the root causes of issues within the process and verify improvement.


The control phase is used to make sure that the changes implemented during the process remain in effect. A control plan documents how the process should go, including metrics to measure success — which can be used by future teams or in future versions of a process.

Start using DMAIC for process improvement

DMAIC is a helpful framework for process improvement that will allow your business to identify the root cause of problems and make lasting changes.

When you’re ready to get started, discuss DMAIC with your team and evaluate whether it would be a good fit for your process. If DMAIC sounds right for your business, identify the right project to test it out. Then, pick a process your team believes could be improved.

You should be able to measure the impact of your efforts, so choose a project connected to data or metrics that will allow you to evaluate your progress. Ideally, the scope of the project will be large enough to have tangible results but not so complex that it’s impossible to solve.

Adobe can help support DMAIC process improvement

Adobe Workfront is enterprise work management software that supports Six Sigma and DMAIC process improvement. Workfront allows your teams to collaborate to find creative solutions to process improvement. Implementing DMAIC is easier with Workfront.

Take a product tour or watch the overview video to learn more.