Lean Six Sigma Principles: An Overview

Quality Management is gaining utmost importance in the present era. Organizations are not willing to compromise on quality while delivering projects to clients. With the advancement in various methodologies of quality management organizations prefer to apply six sigma and lean methodology combined to form Lean Six Sigma Principles to improve their projects and services. Initially designed to assist businesses in implementing quality control, six sigma has positively impacted several large enterprises and organizations in streamlining project quality.

Lean Six Sigma Principles, Lean Six Sigma
Lean Six Sigma Principles

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a quality method through which businesses can improve their processes. This in turn increases the performance of the project. When the processes are well controlled, it implies that the business has applied Six Sigma methodology efficiently. Emphasizing on quality helps businesses to reduce the number of defects arising out of the project. The lesser the variation in the deliverables, the higher the quality of the project or service. While six sigma helps in controlling the processes, the lean methodology helps in mitigating the wastages altogether. Integrating both the methodologies led to the birth of Lean Six Sigma.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma is based on facts and data that assist in preventing defects. This methodology combines the tools of six sigma and lean manufacturing. Merging both lean and six sigma helps to reduce the waste of allocated resources along with the time and effort of employees. It is believed that Lean Six Sigma first originated in the United States Lean Six Sigma in the 1980s. Back then it was merely a combination of management principles and processes that evolved in Japan. A deeper understanding of this method was absorbed by several organizations only after 2002. Today, there are various levels of Lean Six Sigma based on the level of expertise. They are:

  • Yellow Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Black Belt
  • Master Black Belt

These levels are awarded as Lean Six Sigma Certification to individuals who are pursuing their career in quality management. Each level demonstrates the extent of understanding and knowledge of six sigma concepts. However, the methodology has a standard process and implementing lean six sigma has many benefits which improves business processes. The popular DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) process is the framework used for emphasizing on customers through data and statistical techniques.

Organizations that look forward to apply the Lean Six Sigma methodology need to focus on 5 key principles. These principles assist in achieving desired business efficiency and effectiveness. Let us have a look at these principles.

5 Key Lean Six Sigma Principles –

  • Customer Focus:

Often businesses are seen giving more importance to their clients as they hold the reputation of the organization. Lean Six Sigma helps such businesses to understand their customers and their needs. This further assists in establishing a standard level of quality that is demanded in the market. On delivering projects as per customer needs businesses can retain their customers.

  • Map out the value stream to discover the problems:

This principle of lean six sigma requires a business to map their processes. On mapping complex processes, activities that do not create value to the customer can be eliminated. To do so, businesses need to gather data required to identify the problem area.  Businesses need to investigate the root cause of the problem before trying to alter it as per the Lean Six Sigma methodology.

  • Remove the variations:

On identifying the problem, businesses are required to determine ways in which variations can be eradicated. A recent study unveiled that, variations can occur in long processes required to be carried out for complex projects. Altering or removing such processes through Lean Six Sigma can decrease the number of variations occurring in a project or service. This way businesses can achieve the desired project quality.

  • Clear communication with the team:

The principles of Lean Six Sigma can be applied only when every individual in the project team is well-versed with the methodology. Lean Six Sigma methodology can bring rigorous changes to the organization. As a result, businesses need to concentrate on the impacts of implementing the methodology. Maintaining transparency with all the stakeholders helps in reducing the causes of project failure.

  • Instill flexibility:

Lean Six Sigma focuses on change, requiring a business to welcome the changes occurring during its implementation. In simple terms, management has to prepare employees to adapt to the changes that occur due to Lean Six Sigma methodology. This can be done by hiring certified professionals with Black Belt or Green Belt credentials. Such professionals can explain the benefits of the method and how it can improve the workflow. This helps to speed up the transformation process thereby, benefitting the organization.


Lean Six Sigma principles use the best of both six sigma and lean methodologies. Applying these principles during the transformation process helps in optimizing the process involved in project management. Furthermore, businesses can work towards delivering projects with improved quality and fewer wastages. Individuals involved in the transformation process can master the Lean Six Sigma methodology by taking by Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Training course offered by Unichrone.