What is DMADV

Guide: DMADV

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Author: Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is an experienced continuous improvement manager with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. With more than ten years of experience applying his skills across various industries, Daniel specializes in optimizing processes and improving efficiency. His approach combines practical experience with a deep understanding of business fundamentals to drive meaningful change.

Guide: DMADV

DMADV, an integral part of the Six Sigma framework, represents a meticulous approach for developing new products or processes, or significantly enhancing existing ones. Characterized by its structured, phased methodology, DMADV prioritizes quality and customer satisfaction above all.

Each phase – Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify – is a stepping stone towards achieving solutions that not only fulfill customer requirements but often surpass them. This methodology is pivotal in guiding projects to fruition, focusing on customer-centric approaches, data-driven decision-making, risk management, and fostering innovation. As a variant of DFSS (Design for Six Sigma), DMADV is versatile, adaptable across various industries, and indispensable for creating solutions where innovation is paramount and existing approaches fall short.

What is DMADV?


DMADV is a continuous improvement project management methodology embedded within the Six Sigma framework. It is designed for developing new processes or products or making significant improvements to existing ones. The unique characteristic of DMADV is its structured, phased approach, which strongly emphasises quality and customer satisfaction. This methodology ensures that the processes or products meet and often exceed customer expectations and quality standards.

Key Aspects of DMADV

  1. Customer-Centric Approach: At its core, DMADV focuses on understanding and meeting customer needs. It starts with identifying what customers value and ends with a solution that delivers on these expectations.

  2. Data-Driven Decision Making: DMADV relies heavily on data and statistical analysis to make informed decisions at every stage. This data-driven approach minimizes assumptions and biases, leading to more effective solutions.

  3. Risk Management: By systematically analyzing and designing processes, DMADV helps in identifying potential risks early in the project lifecycle, allowing for proactive mitigation strategies.

  4. Innovation and Creativity: DMADV encourages innovative thinking to develop new solutions that may not be possible through incremental process improvements.

What does DMADV Stand for?


DMADV is an acronym representing the five phases of the methodology:

  1. Define: This is the first phase, which involves clearly defining the project goals, scope, and customer requirements. It sets the foundation for the project by establishing what needs to be achieved.

  2. Measure: In this phase, the focus is on gathering and measuring data related to customer needs and current process performance. This data serves as a benchmark and helps in identifying gaps between current capabilities and desired outcomes.

  3. Analyze: During the Analyze phase, the collected data is scrutinized to understand the root causes of issues or to explore potential solutions. This phase involves a thorough analysis of options and the development of design alternatives.

  4. Design: The Design phase is where the actual solution is created based on the insights gained from the previous phases. This involves detailed planning, development, and testing of prototypes or process designs.

  5. Verify: Finally, the Verify phase involves testing and validating the designed solution to ensure it meets the defined requirements and specifications. This phase often includes pilot runs and iterative refinement to ensure the final product or process performs as intended.

What is DMADV also known as?

DMADV is often referred to as DFSS, which stands for Design for Six Sigma. This naming highlights the methodology’s focus on ‘designing’ processes and products using Six Sigma principles right from the beginning, as opposed to improving them after they have been created.

DFSS – A Broad Perspective:

Comprehensive Quality Focus: DFSS (or DMADV) integrates quality management principles right from the design phase, ensuring that the final output is of high quality and free from defects.

Part of Six Sigma: As a subset of the larger Six Sigma approach, DFSS shares the same core principles of reducing variation and eliminating defects, but it specifically applies these principles to the design phase.

Versatility: DFSS can be applied across various industries and sectors, making it a versatile tool for organizations looking to innovate and improve.


Understanding the distinction between DMADV and DMAIC is crucial in the Six Sigma framework:

DMADV for New Creations

DMADV is the ideal approach when starting from scratch or when a structural change is needed. This might be for a product that’s being developed for the first time or a process that needs to be entirely rethought to meet new requirements or standards.

DMAIC for Improving Existing Processes

On the other hand, DMAIC is used for existing processes that are already in place but need refinement. It focuses on making incremental changes to improve efficiency, reduce defects, and enhance quality.

Innovation vs. Incremental Improvement

The core difference lies in the nature of the change: DMADV is about innovation and design, often involving creativity and the development of something novel. DMAIC is about making the best of what already exists, improving it step by step.


When should I use DMADV?

DMADV is an applicable methodology in specific scenarios where traditional improvement methodologies might not be sufficient, such as:

  1. Non-Performing Existing Products/Processes: When an existing product or process fails to meet customer needs or quality benchmarks, DMADV can be employed to redesign it from the ground up, rather than trying to patch it incrementally.

  2. Creation of New Products/Processes: When a completely new product is envisaged or when a new process is required – perhaps due to changes in technology, market demand, or business strategy – DMADV provides a structured approach to bring these new ideas to fruition.

  3. Inefficient Current Processes: If a current process is fundamentally flawed or inefficient, DMADV can be used to redesign it thoroughly, ensuring that the new design rectifies the inefficiencies.

  4. Complex Problem Solving: When faced with complex challenges that require innovative solutions, DMADV’s structured yet flexible approach allows for creative problem-solving, ensuring that the solutions are not just innovative but also viable and quality-focused.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying DMADV


The DMADV methodology is a systematic approach, each phase building upon the previous one to ensure the development of a process or product that meets quality standards and customer needs. Here’s a detailed look at each step:

Step 1: Define

The Define phase of DMADV is the step that sets out the foundation for the entire project and will be the point of reference through the remaining stages of the project. In the define phase it is important to define the following:
  • The project Goals: Clearly outlining what the project intends to achieve. This includes understanding the business objectives behind the project.
  • Customer Needs: Determining what the customers expect from the product or process. This is often done through market research, customer interviews, or surveys.
  • Project-Charter-Template-LearnleansigmaThe Scope: Clearly delineating the boundaries of the project, what will and won’t be included.
  • Project Deliverables: Defining what the end product of the project will be, in terms of both tangible and intangible outcomes.
These can often all be stated within a project charter which can be a guiding document (contract) between the project team, sponsors and stakeholders.

Step 2: Measure

Data-Trends The measure phase is focused on data collection. Activities such as collecting relevant data that reflects customer needs and current process capabilities. This could include performance data of existing processes, if applicable.

Additional data collection of benchmarks or standards against which new designs will be measured can be done at this stage to understand what competitors and market leaders are doing.

Most importantly, data will be collected to understand the customer’s needs by using methods such as Voice of the customer (VOC) to understand both the stated and unstated needs of the target customers and setting clear product or process specifications. 

Step 3: Analyze

The next step in DMADV is to analyze the data collected in the previous step and:

  • Team - LearnleansigmaExploring Options: Identifying various ways to meet the specifications and customer requirements. This often involves brainstorming and creative thinking.
  • Risk Analysis: Assessing the potential risks and challenges associated with each option.
  • Decision Making: Using analytical tools to evaluate each option and select the best course of action.

Step 4: Design

The Design phase of DMADV is where the solutions identified in the previous step are realized and implemented in the product or process. Key actions at this point include the following:

  • Detailed Planning: Developing a detailed plan for the selected design. This includes outlining the resources, time, and steps needed.
  • Modeling and Simulation: Creating models or simulations to test the design in a controlled environment. This helps in understanding how the design will perform under various conditions.
  • Iteration: Refining the design based on simulation or modeling results.

Step 5: Verify

The final step in DMADV is the verification step, which is about testing and validating the ideas implemented in the previous step to see if they worked a produce results inline with the customers expectations. Common activities at this phase include:

  • Pilot Testing: Implementing the design on a small scale to test its viability in a real-world scenario.
  • Validation: Confirming that the design meets all the specifications and customer requirements established earlier.
  • Review and Feedback: Collecting feedback from the test phase and making necessary adjustments.

This phase is essential to ensure that the final product or process is ready for full-scale implementation.


In conclusion, DMADV is a key methodology in lean six sigma, specifically tailored for creating new or significantly improved products and processes. Through its systematic approach, encapsulated in the five phases of Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify, DMADV ensures that every aspect of a project is meticulously planned, analyzed, and executed.

Its strength lies in its commitment to understanding and satisfying customer needs, leveraging data for informed decision-making, and embracing innovation. Ideal for addressing complex challenges, DMADV stands as a beacon for organizations aiming to innovate, improve, and excel in today’s dynamic market landscapes.


A: An organization should opt for DMADV when it faces situations like developing a new product or process, redesigning an existing process that no longer meets quality standards or customer needs, addressing complex problems that require innovative solutions, or when the current process is inefficient and needs a complete overhaul. Essentially, DMADV is chosen when the challenge at hand requires a fresh, innovative approach rather than an improvement of existing systems.

A: DMADV is a structured methodology used in Six Sigma for developing new processes or products, or significantly improving existing ones. It stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify. The key difference between DMADV and DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) lies in their application: DMADV is used for creating new solutions or making major redesigns, focusing on innovation and design from scratch, while DMAIC is applied to existing processes, focusing on incremental improvements and problem-solving.

A: DMADV ensures customer satisfaction by incorporating the voice of the customer (VOC) throughout its process. It starts with defining customer needs and expectations, measures these requirements precisely, analyzes the best ways to meet them, designs solutions centered around these needs, and finally verifies that the end product or process meets the set specifications. This customer-centric approach ensures that the final outcome aligns with customer expectations.

A: Yes, DMADV can be applied across various industries including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and IT, among others. It is particularly effective in projects that require the creation of new products or processes, in scenarios demanding significant innovation, and in situations where existing solutions are unable to meet evolving market demands or quality standards. Its versatility makes it a preferred choice for a wide range of sectors facing diverse challenges.

A: Common tools and techniques used in DMADV include Quality Function Deployment (QFD) for understanding customer needs, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) for risk assessment, statistical data analysis tools for measuring and analyzing data, design and simulation software in the design phase, and pilot testing or controlled experiments in the verification phase. Each tool is selected based on its relevance to the specific phase of the DMADV process, ensuring a comprehensive approach to quality and design.


Picture of Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft is a seasoned continuous improvement manager with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. With over 10 years of real-world application experience across diverse sectors, Daniel has a passion for optimizing processes and fostering a culture of efficiency. He's not just a practitioner but also an avid learner, constantly seeking to expand his knowledge. Outside of his professional life, Daniel has a keen Investing, statistics and knowledge-sharing, which led him to create the website www.learnleansigma.com, a platform dedicated to Lean Six Sigma and process improvement insights.

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