Six Sigma

A data-driven management philosophy developed by Motorola for eliminating defects, waste and quality-control problems in manufacturing. The basic idea behind Six Sigma is that if one can measure the amount of “defects” in a process, one can systematically determine how to eliminate them, getting as close to zero defects (i.e., perfection) as possible. In order to achieve Six Sigma, the process cannot produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities (opportunity being defined as a chance for nonconformance or not meeting the required expectations).

Six Sigma is broken down into two different processes:

  • Six Sigma DMADV — a process that defines, measures, analyzes, designs and verifies new processes or products that are trying to achieve Six Sigma quality.
  • Six Sigma DMAIC — a process that defines, measures, analyzes, improves and controls existing processes that fall below the Six Sigma specification.

Six Sigma processes are carried out by professionals deemed by Motorola as either Six Sigma Green Belts or Six Sigma Black Belts, the Black Belts having more expertise in the Six Sigma process.

The term is derived from the Greek letter sigma, a mathematical term that represents a measure of variation.

According to Motorola, Six Sigma has had non-manufacturing applications in transactional processes, such as billing and customer support.

Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1559 Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

List of Windows Operating System Versions & History [In Order]

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Generations of Computers (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

Melissa Virus

The Melissa virus is a type of mass-mailing macro virus that has been...

On-Screen Display (OSD)

An on-screen display (OSD) is the graphic image, text, or information shown on...

Hotfix

A hotfix, also known as quick-fix engineering (QFE) update, is a term used...