What is Lean Six Sigma?


Lean Six Sigma is a data-driven, team-based, and structured approach for solving business problems. It is a powerful process improvement methodology that combines the waste reduction focus and tools inherent in Lean with the cultural, structural and analytical methods of Six Sigma. The DMAIC process (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) provides the overriding structure to solve problems.

In a larger sense, Lean Six Sigma is a management philosophy. The philosophy includes the following key tenets:

  • LSS is the methodology used to solve major business problems
  • LSS projects are chosen based on the expected benefits to the company, both in terms of financial benefits and in helping to achieve a firm’s business strategy
  • Middle managers are key to success in providing resources for LSS teams
  • Senior managers are key to success in promoting and supporting LSS, and in linking the program to strategic goals

Lean and Six Sigma developed somewhat independently of each other but were combined as complementary approaches around the year 2000 by George Group.

For information on the history of Lean Six Sigma click here.