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Six Sigma Jargon:

3.4 defects out of 1 million opportunities

5-Why Analysis

Batch size optimization

Black Belt see Yellow, Green, and Black Belt

Capacity Utilization


Continuous data

COQ Cost of Quality or Cost of Poor Quality

Creativity Design Techniques

CTQ Critical to Quality

Customer specifications

DFSS-Design for Six Sigma

Discrete data


Six Sigma Jargon

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Six Sigma Jargon:


Gemba walks see walking the process

Goal Statements SMART vs Stretch Goals

Green Belt See Yellow, Green and Black belts

Hawthorne effect



Lead time vs cycle time vs value creating time

Lean Wastes

Normal distribution

Operational Definitions

Pareto Analysis

Parkinsons law

Poke Yoke

Process Capability Six Sigma Jargon Page 2

Six Sigma Jargon:

Process maps, high level, detailed

Product or Service Families

Queue theory


Root cause

Run and Control Charts

Sample Sizes

Scientific Method

SIPOC diagrams

SMART Goals See Goal Statements

Stakeholder, customer, sponsor, process owner, process worker or steward

Standard deviation

Standard Work

Stretch Goals See Goal Statements

TIMWOODS Six Sigma Jargon Page 3

Six Sigma Jargon:



Value Added Activities vs Non Value Added, vs Value Enabling Activities

Value Stream Map

VOC Voice of Customer

Walking the process


Yellow, Green, and Black Belt

Six Sigma Jargon

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Six Sigma Jargon:

3.4 defects out of 1 million opportunities Defect version of a process operating at a 6 sigma level. Defects per million opportunities is called DPMO 99.9996% process capability Percentage version of a process operating at a 6 sigma level 5-Why Analysis Technique used for root cause identification. A symptom is stated and then the group is asked, Why? The response is then asked the same Why? question. This continues on for usually 5 or more iterations until root cause is identified. Batch size optimization Technique used to identify the best batch size for a given process. Generally for service processes, there are advantages to having batch sizes greater than 1, however at some point too large a batch size creates inefficiencies too. The items that were first in the batch queue wait excessively while additional items accumulate. While the last item in a batch gets processed immediately, all the earlier items wait, causing delays. Black Belt see Yellow, Green, and Black Belt Capacity Utilization a percent measure of how much of your planned resources are being used to process transactions. The capacity utilization can never be above 100% or below 0 percent. As capacity utilization reaches 100%, processing in the system slows down creating longer lead times or longer customer wait times. Checksheets Tool used to help with the collection of direct observation data. Continuous data One of two primary data type measurements (the other being discrete data). Continuous data is measured with instruments that have an infinite scale, or at least a scale of 10 or more. Examples of continuous data include time measurements, distance, temperature, weight, and dollars. For normally distributed business processes that produce continuous data, a minimum sample size of 30 data points needs to be collected to make predictions about the underlying population COQ Cost of Quality or Cost of Poor Quality Calculation performed on a process to understand in dollarized terms, how broken the process is. Cost of quality calculations include the cost of waiting, rework, defects, inspection, opportunity costs, and other wasteful activities of the process. Cost of quality calculations help make a business case for improving a process. Creative Design Techniques Technique performed in the Improve phase of the DMAIC. Teams are taught over 40 different group based brainstorming techniques to help come up with solutions to reduce or eliminate root cause. An example of one technique is to have the group image that they were president or CEO and could remove or replace policy that impedes process improvement. Another is to have the team come up with a solution that only cost the amount that they have collectively in their wallet.

Six Sigma Jargon

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Six Sigma Jargon:

CTQ Critical to Quality Technique used to convert vague Voice of Customer (VOC) feedback into measurable statements. For example a vague VOC statement may be, call center service is poor. A CTQ conversion would be, percent of first call resolved. CTQs help understand how severe the process problem is and what is causing process problems. Not all CTQs can be measured with limited time and resources; it is up to the team to choose only the most important CTQs for measurement. Customer specifications Process performance values based on what the customer needs are. Customer specs are used to help measure how capable the process is of meeting customer needs. Customer specifications shouldnt be arbitrarily set by management, but based on business and customer parameters. DFSS-Design for Six Sigma Methodology used to create high quality products or services that have never existed before. Similar to DMAIC, which is used on existing processes. Discrete data - One of two primary data type measurements (the other being continuous data). Discrete data is measured with a pass/fail, yes/no, in/out binary scale.. Examples of discrete data include whether an error exists or not, whether a process performed on time or not. For normally distributed business processes that produce discrete data, a minimum sample size of 1400 data points needs to be collected to make predictions about the underlying population DMAIC - Acronym for the 5 step problem solving approach/methodology used in Six Sigma. Short for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control FMEA Failure Modes Effect Analysis Technique used to understand and quantify underlying risks of a solution, process, product, or service. FMEA calculations include the severity of the risk, the probability of risk occurring, and the detectability of the risk. All three values are multiplied to come up with an Risk Priority Number, RPN. Gemba walks see walking the process Goal Statements SMART vs Stretch Goals Goal statement in a project charter are important elements of a Six Sigma project. Team members are encouraged to come up with process improvement goals that are impossible to reach without the process changing. These stretch goals help to make sure that teams and process workers dont fall into the trap of delivering just minor tweaks to the system and getting by with, working harder. Stretch goals force teams to remove waste, identify and a remove root causes. Because of this, meeting a stretch goal isnt as important as meeting traditional SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timing specific) goals. Green Belt See Yellow, Green and Black belts Hawthorne effect Phenomena that occurs when process workers realize they are being measured, and results in process performance times that are better then normal.

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Six Sigma Jargon:

Histogram Visual graphing tools that displays the frequency distribution of a variable. Histograms help to show process variation as well as process averages. Its important for six sigma teams to understand process histograms and skinny the histogram curves of their process output. Kaizen- Process improvement philosophy developed by the Japanese and means small change for the better. Kaizen is based on the scientific method and is generally thought of as an excellent tool for small process improvement projects that are local and contained. Kaizen events aimed at process improvement generally take 1-5 days from start to finish. Lead time vs cycle time vs value creating time Processes that have time based metrics have at least 3 important time measurements. Lead time measures the total time from start to finish for the process, from the customers perspective and generally involved the time not just in one silo or department, but all of the times spend within the process. Cycle time is the time taken for 1 process step or task, or departmental activity. Value creating time or VCT, is the time spent within a cycle on the activities that the customer really wants performed. Lead time is greater than the summation of cycle times. Cycle time is greater than the summation of value creating times. None of these three measures account for the biggest and most wasteful measure in most processes whitespace or idle time. Lean Wastes Activities that do not add value to process and are traditionally seen as activities the customer would not be willing to pay for. The 8 different types of waste classifications can be remembered using the pneumonic, TIMWOODS. Normal distribution - Statistical distribution in which data are represented by a bell-shaped curve. The distinct shape and position of the curve are determined by the mean and the standard deviation. Many processes have outputs that are normally distributed. Operational Definitions Descriptions used to help collect data. Good operational definitions include whats being measured, how it is measured, who the provider and recipient are, as well as the boundary or start and stop points. Pareto Analysis Rank sort ordering data to help make business decisions. With limited time and resources teams must focus on the vital few activities that will generate the greatest rewards or impact, and Pareto Analysis helps to focus large data sets into smaller groups. Parkinsons law Concept that states work will expand so as to fill the time available for its completion. Because of Parkinsons law, teams must identify what process workers will do with the freed up time created by process improvement activities, or risk that improvements will slowly degrade. Poke Yoke- Japanese term for error proofing Process Capability Calculation performed on a business process that determines how often the process is meeting customer requirements or meeting customer specification. Process maps, high level, detailed Visual flow chart of the business process Six Sigma Jargon Page 7

Six Sigma Jargon:

Product or Service Families Concept that a single business process may have different families of input or output. Often time if there are different service families that provide process input, it makes sense to build processes that are optimized for that specific family. A one size fits all approach to business processes often creates an output that isnt optimized. Queue theory Branch of mathematics that studies wait lines. Many service processes are riddled with wait line problems, so a basic understanding of queue theory can help process improvement teams with their analysis and solution development. QxA=E Simple formula develop by Meier that describes characteristics of change management within process improvement. E stands for the goal of any process improvement team, an effect result. Q represents the Quality of the solution or the technical robustness of the solution and is a relative score. A represents the user acceptance of the proposed solution. The concept is that robust solutions alone do not create effective results. User acceptance and in particular change management is needed for the effective result. Root cause Underlying reason for a process symptom. Data must be used to help verify root causes. Its the goal of process improvement teams to understand, reduce, and if possible, eliminate root cause with their proposed process improvement solutions. Run and Control Charts - a graph that displays observed data in a time sequence Sample Sizes Depending on the underlying populations distribution, and the type of data for the distribution, and the confidence level needed, sample sizes can be determined by process improvement teams. SIPOC diagrams Visual process mapping tool that displays Suppliers, Inputs, Process steps, Outputs, and Customers. SMART Goals See Goal Statements Stakeholder, customer, sponsor, process owner, process worker or steward Stakeholders are made up of all the individuals and groups affected by the process. The most important stakeholders in a Six Sigma project are customers, not sponsors or process workers. Standard deviation A statistical measure of variation in a process. In general, the larger the standard deviation the greater the variation. Standard Work Important concept in process improvement. Japanese thought leader Taiichi Ohno stated, Without standard work there can be no improvement. Stretch Goals See Goal Statements TIMWOODS Pneumonic used to remember the 8 Lean wastes: Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over-production, Over-processing, Defects, and Staff skills or safety. Six Sigma Jargon Page 8

Six Sigma Jargon:

Traveler Tool used to collect direct observation data. Generally has a time-in and time-out column that is filled in by all the operators that work on the process. USL and LSL Acronym for Upper specification limit, or Lower specification limit. Value Stream Map A visual representation of the process. A multi-level process map that contains process steps, information flows, and resource requirements. VOC Voice of Customer Technique used to capture customer feedback Walking the process Technique in which the team goes out and directly observes the steps of the process. Whitespace Wait or idle times in a process that are generally observed in-between process steps. Most of the time, whitespace is not owned or assigned accountability to any of the separate handoff or process owner groups and its reduction accounts for some of the largest opportunities for process improvement Yellow, Green, and Black Belt Different educational levels for Six Sigma training. Yellow belts are generally obtained after 3 days of in-class work. Green belts are obtained after at least 5 days of classroom work and completion of a project. Black belts are obtained after rigorous process improvement training, statistical analysis, and multiple project completions and generally represent a career choice.

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