A3 / 8D Problem Solving

The A3 process is a structured template for solving problems in a continuous matter. The A3 approach is also known as SPS, which stands for Systematic Problem Solving. The Eight Disciplines of Problem Solving (8D) is a problem solving methodology designed to find the root cause of a problem, devise a short-term fix and implement a long-term solution to prevent recurring problems.

What is DMAIC? An Introduction to DMAIC – Problem Solving Lean Six Sigma Tool

DMAIC is a lean six sigma methodology that stands for define, measure, analyze, improve and control. It was developed by Bill Smith and Dr Mikel J Harry out of Motorola University in the 1980s. Dr. Mikel Harry used this methodology in business and called it Six Sigma.

Define: Define the problem. If the problem is well defined then it the results will leads to success. Most problems are not well defined, which results in people focusing and working on the wrong thing and areas and ultimately frustration, higher costs and longer time to achieve results.
Measure: Next, we measure our current level of performance vs our target goal to identify the gap that we wish to close. Use hard data to describe (measure) current state vs desired future: current $20K in monthly sales vs goal of $30K.
Analyze: Third, we analyze the problem in order to get to its root cause(s) and not focus on symptoms of the problem. Most initial ideas or solutions are WRONG as they erroneously solve symptoms of the problem, not the true problem.
Improve: Fourth, we put in place improvement initiatives (solutions) to fix the problem. Whenever possible we test ideas on a small scale first.
Control: Finally, based on lessons learned (i.e., the solution reduced the gap between our initial state vs desired future sales), we monitor performance in order to sustain the gain and we pass along lessons learned.