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Applying Six Sigma in Your Personal Life

Picture of Claudio Gutierrez

Claudio Gutierrez

President & Founder — Valens Project Consulting


It’s truly impressive how even aspects of your personality can be improved through Six Sigma tools. Your personal leadership skills will be refined and definitely improved. Nowhere else is this more obvious than when applying the DMAIC framework to your personal life.

Even simple, every day activities can be improved by using Six Sigma tools.
Using DMAIC to solve everyday problems



The following example illustrates how DMAIC fits into a common life challenge: gardening and lawn maintenance.


Define: This process begins with defining the gap between the “ideal state” and current state, as well as your aspirations to close it. In addition, you will document the timing and the business problem associated with the project.


What it means for everyday life: Every day you probably have defined goals either consciously or subconsciously. Take it a step further by clearly defining them and documenting your plan for achieving them. In everyday life, this might look something like, “Ideally, I will complete the task of maintaining my garden in no more than 30 minutes. Currently, it takes me over an hour.”



Measure: Establish a baseline for your performance by collecting data. Identify what you will measure and how you will measure it so you can determine later if your goals have been achieved.


What it means for everyday life: Know how you’ll determine if you’ve achieved your goal before you tackle it. Develop a plan for measuring your progress and the factors you believe may influence the gap you are trying to close. For example, these factors might include the time it takes to find and stage your garden equipment, the time it takes to complete each task, and the distance you have to walk to gather everything in one place.



Analyze: Utilize the results of the measure phase to determine how each of the factors you measured affects the gap in performance. Is there any factor that has the greatest impact? Find out what factors are most strongly correlated with the gap you are trying to close. Does the observed variation in process outcomes seem sporadic, cyclical, consistent, or trending?


What it means for everyday life: The time to complete lawn maintenance correlates most highly to the ease of locating the maintenance tools after the last use. The variation in time seems to be cyclical where the cycle clearly coincides with the time of year. Further analysis of what’s behind these correlations may be key in developing conclusions.



Improve: Using a pilot program, test out a solution for the problem at hand. Review their results carefully. Measure and analyze again to verify that the chosen solutions have the desired effect, or, if not, learn from their failure. Repeat this cycle until you find the solution that produces the desired effect.


What it means for everyday life: Deploy potential solutions to your problems carefully. Does storing all of your yard equipment in the storage room help to make it more accessible? Are you able to cut down on the time spent on the general maintenance needed each weekend by performing a more intensive cleanup at the start of each season? Be willing to test drive different potential solutions until you achieve the desired result.



Control: Make sure that you document your solution, implement it as a team and monitor it closely to ensure that it is meeting your expectations.


What it means for everyday life: Now that you’ve found the right strategy to cut down on the time spent on maintaining your garden, be sure to monitor progress regularly. By working to maintain what you’ve achieved, you’ll better enjoy the fruits of your labor.


My life has become more organized as a result of being aware of and using these tools. It has made me a much more efficient person, in terms of finances, grocery consumption, time estimates, and even in terms of human relations. We will discuss more detailed examples of how Six Sigma can benefit your life in the future, but in the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Set up a free assessment with us and unleash your potential both at work and in your personal life! Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn for the latest updates on how we help support our customers.


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