What You Need to Know About 8D and DMAIC Problem-Solving
What is the Difference Between 8D and DMAIC?
One of the most frequent questions we get from people new to
Quality Improvement: What in the heck is the difference
between 8D and DMAIC problem-solving methods?
First let's talk about what the similarities are between 8D and DMAIC. Both are step-by-step problem-solving methods.
The 8D Problem-Solving approach has...you guessed it...8 steps! DMAIC has just five phases, but they happen to make up the acronym
DMAIC - Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.
OK, so what are the differences between 8D and DMAIC?
There are probably people who would argue that there are LOTS of
differences between the two. But, as we see it, the biggest
difference is in Step 3 of the 8D process: Implement and
Verify Interim Containment. There is not a comparable explicit step in
the DMAIC process. One downside to Interim Containment is that
it can give you a false sense that the problem is solved and that
you can move onto the next problem. Interim Containment is
typically a quick and dirty band aid approach to addressing the
symptoms of a problem and not the root cause. But, the reality
is that if a business problem is serious enough, it merits a band
aid to "stop the bleeding." Then it is up to the team to
complete the rest of the 8D process including removing the
"band-aid" once the root cause is found and addressed.
Which is Best? 8D or DMAIC?
So, which method is best? Some would swear by 8D while
others would swear by DMAIC. Our thoughts are:
- Both processes can generate huge improvements for an
- Anything is better than nothing.
- Pick one approach or the other or select from one of the
many other structured problem-solving approaches that focus on
data collection, data analysis, and prevention of recurrence.
- Stick with the same approach throughout a corporation to
build a common understanding of the process and terminology
throughout the organization.
- If necessary, alter the process to meet your organization's
needs, but don't cut out any of the steps in either process -
they are critical to getting to the root cause of a problem.
Because many of the core elements of problem-solving are the same,
much of the information you find here will work regardless of the
specific problem-solving process.
Problem-Solving Tools and Techniques
Problem-Solving Forms and Checklists