The M in DMAIC is for measure. Measure, measure, and measure. In organizations based on Six Sigma principles, measurements are an ongoing activity. The organization is always measuring, always collecting data. Data is the key to knowing how things are going, how things are really going. Considered measurement is the best way to amass the right data in the right manner.
As you saw in the previous sections, for a Six Sigma project, you create a series of plans, including a Data Collection Plan. This is where you map out what process elements and components you'll be measuring. The objective with this activity is to capture an empirical picture of current performance. These are three general steps involved here:
Prepare to measure.
Protect the integrity of the data you've collected.
Figure 7-4 illustrates the measure phase.
Figure 7-4. In the measure phase of DMAIC, the objective is to begin executing the project according to plan. The first field activity is typically to collect the data. This involves preparing the organization for data collection activities, performing the measurement activities and assembling the raw data, and then ensuring that the integrity of the data is continually protected.
Measuring can be an invisible activity, or it can be an intrusive activity. If you're measuring air pressure, temperature, and humidity, a barometer sitting silently ...