Analyze Phase of Six Sigma: Types, Tools, Purpose

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25th Jan, 2023
Analyze Phase of Six Sigma: Types, Tools, Purpose

The Analyze phase of Six Sigma is the first step in the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) quality improvement process. It involves taking a close look at your current processes and identifying opportunities for improvement. 

Analyze phase aims to determine what is functioning well and what is not working at all. You must also consider any serious issues that might develop as a result of changing your technique. This phase is about collecting data and analyzing it to conclude what kind of changes would be most beneficial—and which would be most difficult to implement successfully. You will be able to advance your career by taking courses in Six Sigma.

Six Sigma Analyze Phase 

The Six Sigma Analyze Phase is the third step in DMAIC process, which is a method for solving problems and developing strategies. In this phase, you will analyze the data you gathered in the Measure Phase and make sense of it by developing hypotheses about what is causing you problem or opportunity. 

This step aims to create a model that describes what is going on in your business and identifies potential causes for defects or other issues. You can use this model to build a hypothesis about how to solve your problem or take advantage of an opportunity. This step will make you ready to move on to the Improve Phase by testing your hypothesis against real-world data.

a. Analyze Phase in DMAIC (Methods)

In the DMAIC analysis phase, several methods are used to analyze data and metrics: 

1. Trend Analysis 

This statistical method provides insight into the number of customers or items involved over time. It is used to predict future trends and changes in customer behavior. 

2. Benchmarking 

This involves comparing your process against another company or industry standard to see how well you're performing. 

3. Histogram 

A histogram is a graphical representation of data that uses bars to illustrate the distribution of values for a given variable over time or space. It can be used to identify outliers and other anomalies in your data set that might skew your analysis results. 

4. Scatterplot 

A scatterplot is a graph that shows how two variables relate to each other by plotting them on an X-Y axis system where X represents one variable while Y represents another. This helps you identify correlations between two data sets and make predictions based on those correlations. Still, it only works well when there is a clear relationship between the two variables plotting together (i.e. not just random noise). 

5. Cause-effect Analysis 

This method involves identifying all possible causes for a problem (or set of problems), then listing them from the most likely cause to the least likely cause. Once you have identified all your possible causes, you can determine which candidates are likely for improvement efforts based on how likely they are and how much impact they have on your business processes. 

6. Survey Method 

You can survey the stakeholders and customers to get feedback on what they think needs improvement. This will help you determine where to start or what direction to go. 

b. Analyze Phase of DMAIC Goals (Overview)

The analysis phase of DMAIC method focuses on identifying the root cause of a problem. It is all about figuring out how to solve a problem, but first, you must figure out what is causing it. The most common goals for this phase include: 

1. Define the Problem 

Define phase is about defining the problem. This is where you decide what problem you want to solve and what you are using DMAIC to solve. This phase aims to identify what your company wants to achieve and how it will be measured. You should also include specific information about how you will collect data, including when you will do it and how many samples you will need. 

2. Identify the Causes of the Problem 

In this phase, you identify the root cause(s) of your problem. You want to be as specific as possible here—you can't make an informed decision about solutions if you don't know exactly what is causing the problem in the first place. This is also where you can start brainstorming possible solutions to your issue so that they are ready when it’s time for Improvement or Control phases later in the DMAIC process flowchart. 

3. To Evaluate Potential Solutions 

The third goal of analyzing a problem is to identify and evaluate all possible solutions to the problem. This includes brainstorming, identifying new ideas, and selecting from among these options. 

4. Verify that Solution will Work Through Testing and Data Collection 

The next goal is to verify that the solution will work through testing and data collection. This involves testing your new process on a small sample of data and then implementing it on all of your data. You can also conduct a pilot study with a small group of customers to see if they're happy with the new process. 

Another goal is to validate that your solution meets all requirements. This means ensuring that it meets customer expectations, doesn't introduce any new issues, and that no existing problems have been made worse by your solution. 

Process Map Analysis

Process Map Analysis is the process of identifying the processes that are in place within a business and then analyzing them to identify areas of improvement. It is often used as a DMAIC measure phase tool for strategic planning and can help companies optimize their operations. 

Process Map Analysis examines the steps that are taken to complete activities or tasks within a business. The goal is to identify areas where efficiency could be improved or where there may be gaps or unnecessary steps. This analysis can help improve productivity and efficiency by identifying where resources are being spent unnecessarily and creating more streamlined processes. 

Want to be a professional in data analysis? Enroll for Lean 6 Sigma Green Belt certification to enhance your career in Six Sigma. 

Value Stream Mapping

Value stream mapping is a technique used to visualize the process of delivering value to customers. It helps organizations make their processes more efficient and deliver better customer service. 

Value stream mapping aims to improve workflow within your organization. You'll want to identify where things are taking too long in the process or where there are bottlenecks that prevent you from getting things done as quickly as possible. 

When you understand how your products or services are created and delivered, you can see ways to improve them. For example, if you notice that all of your inventory is sitting around waiting for someone else in the company to be finished with it before it can be used, then you know that's something worth working on! 

Waste Analysis

Waste analysis is a way to identify the waste in your process. Waste is anything that does not add value to the customer. It is also called non-value-added activity, meaning it adds no value to the product or service. 

Identifying these non-value-added activities will help you eliminate them from your processes so that they can be eliminated from your business. You can then focus on doing important things for customers and providing them with value. 

There are several types of waste in the analysis phase of six Sigma. Some of the most common include: 

  • Overproduction: Producing more than necessary or producing too early or too late in the process before it is needed. 
  • Waiting: Not having enough inventory available or waiting for something else to happen before moving on to another part of a process. 
  • Transportation: Moving materials around unnecessarily instead of just bringing everything together at one point. 

Classic Wastes

Classic wastes in Six Sigma are the most common and easily identifiable type of waste. They include: 

1. Overproduction 

Overproduction is the manufacturing of more than is needed or wanted. It can be caused by poor forecasting and planning or by too much emphasis on quality at the expense of speed. Often, overproduction results in excess inventory that must be stored until it can be sold or used. 

Overproduction is one of the classic wastes in Six Sigma. It's also a waste that can lead to other types of waste, such as overprocessing (when too many employees are involved in a project) and rework (when workers are forced to fix problems they've created). 

2. Inventory 

Inventory is any product produced but not yet sold to customers. Inventory often represents deadweight cost because it ties up capital that could otherwise be invested elsewhere and produces no revenue for your business. 

3. Waiting 

While there are insufficient supplies of resources or parts, waiting happens when people or machinery are idle. Waiting raises overhead costs by requiring more resources, like labor hours and space, to control inventory levels efficiently. Throughput time is the time it takes for an item to pass through all phases of assembly or production. 

4. Motion 

Motion is a classic waste in Six Sigma because it's wasted effort. If there are unnecessary steps in your process, those steps are a waste of time. They could be eliminated—or, at the very least, streamlined—to make things run more smoothly. 

5. Defects 

Defects are another form of waste that can be eliminated with Six Sigma. When you have defects in your process, it's not only time-consuming to fix them; they also cost money and time to correct. 

6. Over-processing 

Producing more than is required or desired is known as overproduction. It may be brought on by inadequate forecasting and planning or by placing an excessive emphasis on quality at the expense of efficiency. Overproduction frequently leaves behind the surplus inventory that needs to be kept in storage until it can be used or sold. 

7. Transport and Handling 

Transport and handling are other types of waste that are often overlooked when it comes to Six Sigma improvement efforts. It's important to look at how an item is handled from start to finish—especially if multiple people are involved—and make sure any unnecessary steps are eliminated before they cost your business money! 

Hypothesis Testing

Hypothesis testing is a statistical method used to determine whether or not a null hypothesis can be rejected. It is most often used in the field of statistics, where it is typically employed to determine whether or not a particular sample is representative of the population from which it was drawn. 

In Six Sigma, hypothesis testing is used to determine whether or not an intervention has significantly improved a process. The null hypothesis states that no improvement has been made, while the alternative hypothesis states that improvement has occurred. 

The purpose of hypothesis testing in Six Sigma is to determine whether or not any changes made to a process have resulted in significant improvement. If significant improvement has been realized, one can confidently say that the change has impacted performance; if no improvement has been made, one can conclude that the intervention produced no effect. 

Analyze Phase Potential Causes

In the lean six sigma analysis phase, we analyze the potential causes of the problem. We look at all the possible reasons why a problem may have occurred and evaluate them. We then determine the most likely and the most likelihood of being fixed. We will look at four potential causes: 

1. Lack of Awareness of the Importance of Proper SEO 

If you're unaware that your website needs to be optimized for search engines, it will be very hard to get traffic. You need to know what works and doesn't to make your site appealing to search engines. 

2. Poorly Written Content 

Poorly written content is one of the most common reasons for low search engine rankings. If people can't understand what you're writing, they'll leave your website quickly—and won't return. 

3. Lack of Content 

You have to have enough content on your site for people to find it interesting and useful. People will leave without clicking anything else if there's nothing but ads and a few blog posts. 

4. Using Outdated, Low-quality Backlinks 

Outdated links don't work anymore or lead to a page that's no longer live. Low-quality links are those with spammy language or low-quality sites as their destinations (like "click here" or "get this free"). 

Purpose of Analyzing Phase 

The analysis phase of Six Sigma is the process of defining and measuring the problem. The analysis phase includes three steps: 

1. Define the Problem  

The first step in the analysis phase is clearly defining the problem you are trying to solve. This means defining exactly what you're trying to do and why it matters.  

2. Establish Objectives  

Once you know what you are trying to accomplish, it is important to figure out how that fits into your overall goals and strategy as a company or organization. That way, when you come up with solutions, they will support your overarching vision and be aligned with your larger strategy.  

3. Determine what Data is Needed 

You will also want to ensure that whatever data you collect during this phase will be useful for solving the problem, so think carefully about what information can help guide decision-making moving forward. 

DMAIC Deliverables Analyze Phase

The Six Sigma analysis phase deliverables are: 

  • Matrix or diagram that identifies all processes and their inputs, outputs, and customer requirements (process flow chart). 
  • List of process characteristics, including performance measures, process capability, and process capability goals (process characteristic list). 
  • List potential improvement opportunities based on the process characteristic list and other available information (possibilities list). 
  • Quantitative evaluation of each potential improvement opportunity using a cost-benefit analysis method such as return on investment (ROI). 

Outcome of Analyze Phase
Outcome of Analyze Phase

The third phase of the Six Sigma project is the analysis phase. During this phase, you will comprehensively analyze your processes' current state and identify improvement opportunities using the six sigma tool for analyzing requirements. 

The primary DMAIC objective of analyzing phase is to define an opportunity for improvement. You can then use this opportunity to create a project goal or key performance indicator (KPI) for the next phase: measure. 

During this phase, you'll need to identify potential sources of variation in your processes and any potential improvements you can make. You'll also need to determine whether or not you have any existing tools used in analyze phase of six Sigma that could be deployed to improve your process. Finally, you'll need to document all findings from your analysis so they're available for use in later phases. 


If you want to go for further into Six Sigma, KnowledgeHut’s best Six Sigma Certification course is the perfect certification course to get you started. With our flexible course options and convenient online learning environment, we provide an ideal atmosphere for learning about this powerful methodology 

While you can take our courses at your own pace from anywhere in the world, each course also comes with a personal mentor who can help guide you through every step of your journey to mastering Six Sigma. 


Binod Anand

Blog Author

A content marketing analyst, Binod’s area of interest is EdTech, marketing analytics, and digital marketing. He is also a professional blogger and writes extensively on skill development. His hobbies include travelling, programming, and watching sitcoms.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is the outcome of the analysis phase?

The outcome of the analysis phase is the creation of a design brief. This design brief can help you make smart decisions about your product's direction when it moves into the design phase. 

2What are the three Analyze phase steps?

The three Analyze phase steps are: 

  • Identify the problem/opportunity. 
  • Gather and analyze data. 
  • Evaluate options, make decisions, and take action 
3What does analysis mean in Six Sigma?

In Six Sigma, "analyze" refers to identifying what needs to be changed. The phrase "analyze" also refers to breaking the material into more manageable chunks for comprehension. 

4What is the main deliverable of analyzing phase?

The main deliverable of the analysis phase is a comprehensive analysis of the user experience. This includes a comprehensive list of user and business requirements and a detailed outline of how the product team will meet these requirements. 

5What is the goal of analyzing phase?

The goal of the analysis phase is to understand the problem at hand, know what your customer needs, and identify potential solutions. 

6What is the purpose of the Analyze phase?

The purpose of Analyze phase is to create a mental model of how the business operates, identify opportunities for improvement, and come up with recommendations for how to improve.