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PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – Six Sigma (#5 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

The Six Sigma name comes from the concept of standard deviation, a statistically derived value represented by the lower case Greek letter sigma: σ. The variations of processes and their output products are typically measured in the number of standard deviations from the mean. A good company typically operates between 3 and 4 sigma.

The central core of the Six Sigma concept is a six-step protocol for process improvement. These steps are as follows:

  1. Identify the product characteristics wanted by the customer.
  2. Classify the characteristics in terms of their criticality.
  3. Determine if the classified characteristics are controlled by part and/or process.
  4. Determine the maximum allowable tolerance for each classified characteristic.
  5. Determine the process variation for each classified characteristic.
  6. Change the design of the product, process, or both, to achieve Six Sigma process performance.

About the Author

Samuel Brown, PMP, is a course developer and instructor for Global Knowledge with 25 years experience teaching. In addition, he has provided project management consulting services for a variety of clients including GE, Glaxo Smith-Klein, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Michelin Tire, and IBM.

This article was originally published in Global Knowledge’s Business Brief e-newsletter. Global Knowledge delivers comprehensive hands-on project management, business process, and professional skills training. Visit our online Knowledge Center at www.globalknowledge.com/business for free white papers, webinars, and more.

© Copyright 2008, Global Knowledge. All rights reserved.

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