11 Known Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Methodologies
30 Jul

11 Known Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Methodologies

Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is a product development approach that complements the Six Sigma problem-solving methodology. Promoted as “Six Sigma goes upstream,” Design for Six Sigma involves changing or redesigning the fundamental structure of the underline process or product. The major objective of Design for Six Sigma is to “design it right the first time” to avoid painful downstream experiences. The term “Six Sigma” in the context of Design for Six Sigma can be defined as the level at which design vulnerabilities are not effective or minimal. Generally, two major design vulnerabilities may affect the quality of the design entity (Yang et al. 2003):

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  • Conceptual vulnerabilities that are established because of the violation of design axioms and principles.
  • Operational vulnerabilities due to the lack of robustness in the use environment.

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Different Design for Six Sigma Roadmaps


Unlike the Six Sigma’s trademark methodology of DMAIC, there is not a universal roadmap for DFSS (Chowdhury 2002). The acronyms range from DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design, verify) to IDDOV (identify, define, develop, optimize, verify) to DCOV (define, characterize, optimize, and verify) and many more. See next heading for available 11 Design for Six Sigma methodologies. If you want to learn more about difference between DFSS & DMAIC, refer to this article.

Despite these naming differences, all versions of Design for Six Sigma share fundamental strategies and tools that promote a common goal: “to create a data-driven product development culture that efficiently produces winning products”(Soderborg 2004). Thus, the Design for Six Sigma methodology is still a straightforward, four or five-step process, just like Six Sigma’s DMAIC.

 According to Yang et al. (2003) Design for Six Sigma is needed when:


  1. A business chooses to replace, rather than repair, one or more core processes.
  2. A leadership or Six Sigma team discovers that simply improving an exciting process will never deliver the level of quality customers are demanding.
  3. The business identifies an opportunity to offer an entirely new product or services.

The 11 known Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Methodologies detailed below is known for their various abilities to eliminating difficulties resulting from variability in engineering, manufacturing, and transactional processes.

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Common Design for Six Sigma  methodologies

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Below are the different acronyms of the 11 known Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Methodologies Identify and described below. These methodologies.

  1. DMADV: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify
  2. IDDOV: Identify, Define, Develop, Optimize, And Verify.
  3. DCOV: Define, Characterize, Optimize, Verify
  4. IDOV: Identify, Design, Optimize, Validate
  5. DCCDI: Define, Customer, Concept, Design, Implementation
  6. DMEDI: Define, Measure, Explore, Develop, Implement
  7. DMADOV: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Optimize, Verify
  8. ICOV: Identify Requirement, Characterize, Optimize, Verify
  9. CDOV: Concept Development, Design Development, Optimization, Verify Certification
  10. IIDOV: Invent, Innovate, Develop, Optimize, Verify
  11. IDEAS: Identity, Design, Evaluate, Assure, Scale-Up

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1. DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify).

DMADV is a Six Sigma Methodology that concentrates primarily on developing new services, product or process as opposed to refining it. The DMADV approach is predominantly used when executing new initiatives and strategies for the reason that its basis on data, early success identification, and detailed analysis. The DMADV methodology should be applied to:

  • Non-existent process or product requiring development. And…
  • Existing process or product still in need of meeting Six Sigma level or client specification.

DMADV Phases includes:

  • Define: Defining project goals including customer focus while using market forecast and competitor analysis to create project charter and plan.
  • Measure: The measured phase involves determine, measure, and ranking customer needs using the CTQ matrix, interviews, and surveys.
  • Analyze: The analyze phase include selecting the best, most innovative concept using an affinity diagram, brainstorm, etc.
  • Design: Develop a design to meet customer needs with the help of Design Tools
  • Verify: This phase validates with a pilot run and transition to operations team to close the DFSS team.

2. IDDOV: (Identity, Define, Develop, Optimize, And Verify).

IDDOV offers the essential framework for product development and highlights the use of step-by-step phases to accomplish Six Sigma. IDDOV phases include:

  • Identify: This phase involves identifying client needs, prioritize them, and translate them into design product.
  • Define: In this phase, the product specifications are clearly defined as the consumer needs and wants are transformed into products.
  • Develop: In this phase, a feasible concept is developed to meet the specified requirements.
  • Optimize the Design: This is the phase where design optimization is maximized at the output to create the idea.

3. DCOV: (Define, Characterize, Optimize, Verify).

The DCOV methodology has a defined stage which is first explored. The DCOV phases include:

  • Define stage: This stage identifies the Critical to Satisfaction (CTS) drivers, and establish an operating window. This stage is further separated into three areas: Inputs, Action, and Output.
  • Characterize stage: This stage is usually completed using a two-step approach, system design, and functional mapping. The goal in both steps is to characterize the design robustness.
  • Optimize stage: The optimize stage generally takes a two-step approach, robust performance, and product design. The goal for both is to improve robustness.
  • Verify stage: The verify stage also takes a two-step approach, overall DFSS assessment, and test and verify. The goal for both is to confirm that the capability and product integrity over time.

4. IDOV (Identify, Design, Optimize, Validate).


IDOV is amongst the popular six sigma methodology and standards for designing products and services. IDOV involves a four-phase process parallel to that of traditional Six Sigma improvement methodology. The IDOV phases include:

  • Identify Phase: This phase begins with a formal design involving development team gathering competitive analysis, VOC, performing and developing CTQs.
  • Design Phase: The Design phase highlights CTQs and includes classifying functional requirements, developing substitute concepts, evaluating alternatives and select the best-fit. It also deploys CTQs and predicts sigma competence.
  • Optimize Phase: The Optimize phase necessitates the use of process capability data and statistical method to tolerancing, developing large design elements, forecasting performance, and optimizing the design.
  • Validate Phase: This phase entails the testing and validating of the design.


5. DCCDI (Define, Customer, Concept, Design, Implementation)

The DCCDI methodology has many comparisons and connections with the DMADV process like Define, Measuring, And the Design stages. Thus, the Implementation stage is the only addition to this methodology that is linked to the formation and commercialization of a good or service.

6.DMEDI (Define, Measure, Explore, Develop, Implementation)


The DMEDI methodology takes a creative approach to making new robust process, products, and services. The DMEDI methodology place emphasis on gaining substantial competitive benefits or quantum leaps over current environs. The DMEDI phases include:

  • Define Phase: The Define phase offer complete charters with clear business issues, anticipated results, and scope limits.
  • Measure Phase: The measure phase necessitates more examination due to little, if any, existing Critical Customer Requirements (CCR), Process Definition, or Baseline Outputs (Ys).
  • Explore Phase: The explore phase is dedicated to producing a workable design for a new process.
  • Develop Phase: The Develop Phase delivers an optimal design based mostly on meeting customer desires.
  • Implement Phase: In the Implement phase, a pilot is conducted. The pilot is a permanent, full-scale deployment that delivers full charts and control plans to monitor the activities involved in the new process.

7. DMADOV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Optimize, Verify)

The DMADOV methodology is another favorite Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Methodologies. DMADOV uses a refinement action on its design. DMADOV forces more consideration to optimize the design by using additional tools to refine design parameters. These tools include Evolutionary Operations (EVOP), Design of Experiments, and Response Surface Methodology (RSM).

8. ICOV (Identify Requirement, Characterize, Optimize, Verify)

The ICOV methodology is also renowned, especially in the manufacturing industry. The ICOV approach develops and expands business performance. The method also works on important design projects while applying various strategies and tools to the designing and redesigning services. The methodology also seeks to increase market speed, improve reliability and quality, innovate grow, and better client satisfaction.

9.CDOV (Concept, Design, Optimization, Verify)

CDOV is another popular methodology used in products and services design that meet six sigma standards. CDOV consist of a four-phase process similar to the five phases of traditional Six Sigma improvement methodology.

  • Concept Phase: This phase takes inputs from the Voice of the Customer (VOC) to produce the best product concept and requirements.
  • Design Phase: This phase detects vital data using administrative wisdom, engineering philosophies, DFSS methods, and tools. Useful needs are recognized, substitute concepts assessed, and competence evaluated.
  • Optimize Phase: This phase gives optimized nominal and tolerance settings for significant input constraints. They are defined by routine analysis of the functional output required to performed.
  • Verify Phase: This phase consists of testing and validating the design to ensure it is consistent.

10. IIDOV (Invent, Innovate, Develop, Optimize, Verify)

The IIDOV methodology uses a general technology development process which can be specified regarding controllable gates and phases. These general gates and phases are useful elements in aiding communication on how to handle product development with discipline, order, and structure.  The IIDOV methodology structure uses research and technology development divided into four discrete phases:

  • Invent and Innovate Phase: Involves creating a workable technology concept.
  • Develop Phase: involves developing the technological idea to yield better results.
  • Optimize Phase: Gives the robustness of the baseline technology used
  • Verify Phase: This phase consists in testing the platform and other sublevel technologies in line with the efficiency process.

11. IDEAS (Identity, Design, Evaluate, Assure, Scale-Up)

The IDEA methodology uses deliverables, enabling tools, requirements, and tasks to add discipline, measurable, and structural results to guarantee strategic growth and activation of the product. The use of technological selections is united to provide capable growth support and meet the business goals. The IDEAS make use of five phase for product and technical project defined by the following:

  • Identify Phase: The identify phase includes markets, segments, and the prospects available to the project.
  • Define Phase: This phase details the project requirements and other product architectural substitutes.
  • Evaluate Phase: The evaluate phase includes product alternatives compared to other competitive products.
  • Activate Phase: This phase ranks every resource and individual product projects to commercialized. Testing and efficiency ability would also be checked.
  • Scale-Up Phase: This phase entails the addition of necessary modifications needed to suit the market demands.


The 11 known Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Methodologies aids businesses and organizations create new processes, products, and services in a manner that guarantees customer satisfaction. The various methodologies listed and explained above find usefulness in multiple fields, and your choice of methodology is dependent on the field and product.

I would also like to emphasize deploying Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) is very challenging in Small & Medium Sizes Enterprises. So, plan carefully before you embark on this journey!



Yang. K and El- Haik. B (2003). Design for Six Sigma- A Roadmap for Product Development. New York, McGraw-Hill.

Chowdhury, Subir (2002). Design for Six Sigma- the revolutionary process for achieving extraordinary profits. Chicago, Dearborn Trade Pub

Soderborg. N. R (2004). “Design for Six Sigma  at Ford”. Six Sigma Forum Magazine, November 2004: 15-22

Other Usefull Resources

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About the Author- Dr Muddassir Ahmed

Dr MuddassirAhmed is the Founder & CEO of SCMDOJO. He is a global speakervlogger and supply chain industry expert with 17 years of experience in the Manufacturing Industry in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia in various Supply Chain leadership roles.  Dr. Muddassir has received a PhD in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School. Muddassir is a Six Sigma black belt and founded the leading supply chain platform SCMDOJO to enable supply chain professionals and teams to thrive by providing best-in-class knowledge content, tools and access to experts.

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