Some Commonly Used Terminology for Six Sigma (A - L) - 1

This introductory article provides just a glimpse of Six Sigma and it is not a comprehensive one. It is recommended for the readers to explore other resources available on the web to collect more information on Six Sigma.

"As Is" Process Map - It depicts a process as it is, currently. "As is" process maps are usually characterized by several input options, bottlenecks and multiple handoffs, inspections and rework loops.

"Should be" Process Map - A depiction of a new and improved version of a process, used in DMAIC and iDMAIC projects, where all non-value-added steps are removed.

Affinity Chart - An affinity diagram is a tool for organizing large quantities of information from many people. It is often used with brainstorming and other creative thinking activities. The ideas are usually written on sticky notes, then categorized into groupings of similar ideas.

Analyze Phase (DMAIC) - Analyze phase identifies the root causes of the problem and confirms them with data.

Area SIX SIGMA Council - Leadership group (Area VP, AMD, AD, MBBs, and often GMs) guiding the implementation of quality and SIXSIGMA within the organization; establishes, reviews, and supports the progress of SIXSIGMA DMAIC and iDMAIC projects.

Assumption Busting - A questioning process that helps identify and eliminate preconceptions or blind spots that hold people back from proposing or pursuing the best solution.

Attribute Data - It id any data that is not quantified on an infinitely divisible scale. Includes a count, proportion, or percentage of a characteristic (e.g. region, location, room type ...) or category (e.g. gender: male/female ...). This is in contrast to "continuous" data that is not limited to categories (e.g. cost in dollars).

Balanced Scorecard - It categorizes ongoing measures into a few significant areas such as finance, process, people, and innovation.It is used as a presentation tool to update sponsors, senior management, and others on the progress of a business or process; also useful for process owners.

Baseline Measures - Data that reflects the performance level that exists at the beginning of an improvement project, before any solutions are initiated. It is the "Before" snapshot to be compared later with the "After" view.

Best Practice - A completed project (usually, but not always a Six Sigma project) that is particularly valuable for use in other properties based on meeting the following three conditions: success, transferability, and Speed of benefit realization

Black Belt - An associate fully assigned to Six Sigma and trained in the DMAIC methodology, analytical tools, and team leadership skills. Black Belts are responsible for guiding DMAIC projects to completion. They lead DMAIC projects, assist with Quick Hits and provide coaching and expert support for iDMAIC transfer projects. Their role in Best Practice and Innovation transfer projects is to assist and coach the Import team on the DMAIC tools and methodology.

Both/And - It is a narrowing/selection process that seeks to identify solution ideas, which are similar (AND) as well as workable together even when not similar ideas (BOTH). This technique helps the team seek connections and combinations of ideas to develop better and more workable solutions.

Box Plot - It is a graphic display of groupings of data that compares the groupings to the others on one chart. An example of the tool would be looking at the variation in check-in time by different front desk associates.

Critical to Quality (CTQs) - Refers to what customers consider important in any given process. Collecting Voice of the customer data leads to the discovery of CTQs, which are translated into distinct requirements that can be measured.

Cause and Effect Diagram (Fishbone/Ishikawa) - Brainstorming tool used for proposing root-causes (the "bones of the fish") for a specific effect (the head of the fish). This can be used in combination with the Affinity Diagram to determine the major categories. Also commonly used in combination with the "5 Whys" technique in order to help people understand the root cause.

Charter - It is a team document defining the context, specifics, and plans of an improvement project. It includes business case, problem and goal statements, constraints and assumptions, roles, preliminary plan, and scope.

Checksheet - Forms, tables, or worksheets that are set up ahead of time for people to use in data collection; it allows for collection of stratified data in a consistent way.

Common Cause Variation - It is normal, everyday influence on a process. This form of variation is usually harder to eliminate and requires changes to the process. Problems from common causes are referred to as "chronic pain".

Complexity Matrix - A tool used to assist teams in determining the level of complexity of a project.

Continuous Data - Any quantity measured on a continuous scale that can be infinitely divided; primary types include time, dollars, size, weight, temperature, and speed.

Control Phase (DMAIC) - Control phase in DMAIC evaluates the solutions and the plan, standardizes the solutions, and outlines the steps for ongoing improvements including opportunities for using the solutions elsewhere.

Control Chart - It is a specialized graph that shows process performance over time, shows average upper and lower control limits and helps determine the influences of common (usual) causes or special (unusual) causes.

Correlation - It is a measure of the degree to which two variables are related. It is calculated to quantify the strength of the relationship between the two variables.

Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ) - It is a financial measure depicting the impact of problems due to internal and external failures in the process which includes labor and material costs for handoffs, rework, waste or scrap, inspection, and other non-value-adding activities.

Process capability (Cpk or Cp) - Process capability is the degree to which a process can meet customer requirements.

Criteria Matrix - It is a decision-making tool used when potential choices must be weighed against key factors such as cost, ease to implement, impact on customer, etc. It encourages use of facts, data, and clear business objectives in the decision-making.

Customer - It is an internal or external person/organization who receives the output product or service of the process.

Customer Requirements - They define the needs and expectations of the customer; translated into measurable terms and used in the process to ensure compliance with the customers' needs.

Cycle Time - The time it takes to complete a process from start to finish. It includes actual work time and waiting time.

Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify (DMADV) - It describes the application of SIXSIGMA tools for designing new products and processes.

DMAIC - Acronym for a Process Improvement/Management System that stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control; lends structure to Process Improvement, Design or Redesign applications.

DMAIC 1 Training - It is DMAIC training for Master Black Belts, Black Belts and Green Belts. This course begins the SIXSIGMA problem-solving methodology (DMAIC), focusing on first steps of Define, Measure and a portion of Analyze.

DMAIC 2 Training - It is DMAIC training for Master Black Belts, Black Belts and Green Belts. This course is the conclusion of DMAIC method, finishing Analyze, Improve, and Control.

DMAIC 3 Training - It is DMAIC training for Master Black Belts. This course deepens the participant's mastery of problem solving and statistical tools.

DMAIC Project - Projects that follow the DMAIC methodology led by a Black Belt; is generally goes for a duration of 3-4 months and can cross-functional boundaries. A DMAIC project focuses on improving an existing process using the 5 steps of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

Defects Per Million Opportunities (DPMO) - Calculation used in SIXSIGMA initiatives to show how much "better" or "worse" a process is by indicating the number of defects in a process per one million opportunities.

Dashboard (or Process Scorecards) - It is a graphical tool that provides a summary update on key indicators of process performance. It can include "alarms" to show if and when a key indicator is nearing a problem level.

Data Collection Plan - It is a structured approach to identifying the required data to be collected and the approach to collecting it. It includes: the measure, the measure type, data type, operational definition, and the sampling plan if new data is necessary.

Decision Tree - Used during the SIXSIGMA Council process to determine project selection weighting. It focuses properties on the area (either Revenue, Cost Reduction or ASI, GSI) that needs the greatest attention to achieve overall property goals.

Defect - It is any instance or occurrence where the product or service fails to meet customer requirements.

Defect Opportunity - It is a potential defect on a unit of importance to the customer.

Defective - It is any unit with one or more defects.

Define Phase (DMAIC) - It is the first phase of DMAIC, where the project's purpose and scope are defined. Background information on the process and customer is collected. The output of this phase includes a clear statement of the improvement (i.e. business case and Project Definition Form), a high-level map of the process (SIPOC), and a list of what is important to the customer.

Deployment Process Map - A map or graphical view of the steps in a process shows the sequence as it moves across departments, functions, or individuals.

Descriptive Statistics - It is a statistical profile of the collected data which includes measures of averages, variation, and other numbers which help team members assess "how bad" a problem is and to pinpoint where to focus further analysis and solutions.

Design for SIXSIGMA (DFSS) - Describes the application of SIXSIGMA tools to product development and Process Design efforts with the goal of "designing in" SIXSIGMA performance capability.

Discounted Cash Flows (DCF) - A method of financial analysis that allows comparisons of dissimilar projects on the basis of their overall value in today's dollars. DCF converts future cash flows into equivalent current dollar equivalents.

Discrete Data (Attribute Data) - It is any data not quantified on an infinitely divisible scale. Includes a count, proportion, or percentage of a characteristic or category.

Division SIX SIGMA Council - Leadership group (Presidents and direct reports, Division SIXSIGMA leader, AMDs, and often MBBs and GMs) guiding the implementation of quality and SIXSIGMA within the division; establishes, reviews, and supports the progress of SIXSIGMA DMAIC and iDMAIC projects. The Division Council is responsible for driving the SIXSIGMA initiative within that division and is accountable for project, process and business results.

Documentation - Documentation is a historical account of the activities and decisions made throughout a DMAIC project, Quick Hit, and iDMAIC project, which is used to facilitate sharing of best practices across an organization and as part of the project close-out process.

E-SIXSIGMA Project Tool (eTool) - Online database capturing project (DMAIC, Quick Hit, and iDMAIC) information including the proposed project goals, problem statement, projected cost and benefits, as well as tollgate documentation information from each phase of DMAIC and iDMAIC projects.

Effectiveness - It is a measure related to how well the process output meets the needs of the customer. It links primarily to customer satisfaction.

Efficiency - It is a measure related to the number of resources used in producing the output of a process.

External Failure - It is when defective units pass all the way through a process and are received by the customer.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) - A useful technique for preventing future problems and reducing risks to a solution.
Used to identify and assess errors & defects which could result in a threat to quality, safety or reliability; it is useful in implementing improvements, redesign or design of processes. It is also a tool for process owners to build prevention and contingency steps into the project plan.

Fishbone Diagram - See Cause and Effect Diagram.

Five Whys - Five Whys are often used to generate a cause and effect. It is the technique of asking "Why" five times in order to dig into each potential cause. "Why" is asked until the root cause is revealed.

Force Field Analysis - It involves a list of the factors that support and factors that "hurt" an idea; "restraining" factors are listed on one side of the page and "driving forces" listed on the other. Frequency Plot or Histogram
It is a graphical representation of the shape or distribution of the data by showing how often different values occur. It helps to answer the question: "Is the process capable of meeting my customer requirements".

Functional Map - See Deployment Process Map.

Future Focused Cause and Effect - A traditional cause and effect diagram used for brainstorming future actions employed during the Improve phase of a DMAIC project.

Gantt Chart - It is a project planning and management tool that displays all the tasks or activities associated with a project or initiative as well as the relationships/dependencies between these tasks.

Global SIXSIGMA Council - Leadership group (Starwood's Senior Operating Committee and Division Presidents) guiding the implementation of quality and SIXSIGMA within the organization, which establishes, reviews, and supports the progress of SIXSIGMA DMAIC and iDMAIC projects. The Global SIXSIGMA Council is responsible for designing and driving SIXSIGMA throughout Starwood.

Goal Statement - Description of the intended target or desired results of Process Improvement or Design/Redesign activities; usually outlined during the proposal phase of the PDF, revised in the Define phase of a DMAIC project and supported with actual numbers and details once data is obtained.

Green Belt - Associates trained to the same level as Black Belts, but not on full-time assignment to SIXSIGMA. They may do DMAIC projects, lead smaller SIXSIGMA projects on a part-time basis, serve on larger projects as team members, and/or undertake implementation of Quick Hits or Innovation Transfer projects.

Handoff - Any time in a process when one person (or job title) or group passes the item moving through the process to another person; a handoff has the potential to add defects, time, and cost to a process.

Hawthorne Effect - It is an increase in worker productivity that results from the psychological stimulus of being temporarily singled out and made to feel important.

Histogram or Frequency Plot - See Frequency Plot.

Hypothesis Statement - It is the complete description of the suspected causes of a process problem.

iDMAIC - iDMAIC stands for "Innovation DMAIC". iDMAIC is a methodology designed to ensure consistent and rapid transfer of innovation throughout Starwood. Innovations can be DMAIC projects, Quick Hits, or other Starwood Innovations.

Internal Rate of Return(IRR) - It is a way to compare potential projects by calculating the financial value of a project against the investment required

Impact/Effort Matrix - A graphical representation of different projects plotted along two axes (Y = Impact, X = Effort). It is a project selection tool that allows comparison of dissimilar projects during the project selection portion of the SSC process.

Implementation Plan - A project management tool used in the "Improve" stages of DMAIC and iDMAIC, compiling tools such as Stakeholder Analysis, FMEA, Poka-yoke, SOPs, and pilot results (if conducted) in a consolidated format.

Improve Phase (DMAIC) - The goal of Improve phase is to pilot and implement solutions that address root causes. This step helps to eliminate any errors/false starts when the team finally implements the solution.

Innovation Transfer - The successful transfer of a new idea, method or solution from one property to another may be a Quick Hit, Best Practice, or any other innovation.

Input - It is any product, service, or piece of information that comes into the process from a supplier.

Input Measures - Measures related to and describing the input into a process; can be predictors of process and output measures.

Ishikawa Diagram - See Cause and Effect.

Kano Analysis - A graph of how customer satisfaction is affected by a particular problem, change, or other variables. The graph is divided into three regions of customer reactions to the variable: "Dissatisfiers", "Satisfiers" and "Delighters".

Leading SIXSIGMA Training (LSS) - It is an introductory course for top-management to SIXSIGMA at Starwood, the SIXSIGMA problem-solving methodology (DMAIC), and the project selection process.

Leading Teams Training (LT) - It is a Team Leadership workshop designed to give participants the necessary skills to be able to lead teams in a challenging environment. The participants, Master Black Belts, Black Belts, and Green Belts are also introduced to the SIXSIGMA problem-solving methodology (DMAIC) and the project selection process.

Learning Cycle - An individual and team based learning exercise that helps individuals identify their own and others' views on the team decision making process and the team's overall performance.

Learning Map - It is an experiential, accelerated, and high-involvement learning activity to introduce SIXSIGMA concepts and the initiative at each Starwood property. It consists of a table-sized visual "SIXSIGMA: Innovation and Improvement" map and a set of cards that direct the participants through a discovery learning activity.