A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - DMAIC and Basic Statistics
In our first lesson, we'll start off by investigating DMAIC, the most popular acronym within the Six Sigma body of knowledge. It stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control. Then, to set the stage for the remaining lessons, we'll explore basic statistics. Since many of the Six Sigma methods and tools that we'll be discussing require that you have a basic knowledge of statistics, I want to make sure that you're well-prepared. I'll show you how to apply the measures of location—median, mode, mean—and the measures of dispersion—range, mean absolute deviation (MAD), variance, and standard deviation (SD).
Lesson 02 - Six Sigma: The Business Case
In this lesson, we'll take a look at the business side of Six Sigma. We'll start off by discussing strategic planning—a concept that looks at internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. We'll move onto two methods of identifying customer requirements—the voice of the customer (VOC) and quality function deployment (QFD). Next, we'll explore benchmarking, a technique that helps you determine how your company matches up to the competition and industry standards. Finally, we'll look at a few financial methods to help you keep track of key objectives.
Lesson 03 - Define: The D of DMAIC
You can't improve something unless you first define it. To help us identify what we're dealing with, we'll begin this lesson by reviewing the first element of the DMAIC model: define. We'll move on and cover the basic Six Sigma metrics—defects per unit (DPU), defects per million opportunities (DPMO), yield, and rolled throughput yield (RTY). Next, we'll investigate a few team techniques to help define conditions and situations—brainstorming, brainwriting, nominal group technique (NGT), and affinity diagrams. We'll finish up by seeing how Pareto charts and critical to quality (CTQ) relate to process and problem definition.
Lesson 04 - Measure Part I: The M of DMAIC
In our next two lessons, we'll tackle the measuring aspect of DMAIC. Along with defining a process, problem, or opportunity, if you don't measure something, you can't improve it. You'll learn about different types of data and gain an understanding of sampling by seeing how it's used to analyze and observe populations. We'll conclude the lesson by examining three graphical methods to measure a population: histograms, stem and leaf diagrams, and box and whiskers plots.
Lesson 05 - Measure Part II: The M of DMAIC
As we continue our discussion on the measure component of DMAIC, we'll begin today by looking at probability distributions, failure methods and effects analysis (FMEA), and physical measurement. The probability distributions that we'll review (binomial, Poisson, and chi-square) are discrete. We'll study their formulas and see how their distributions compare to the normal curve. FMEA is one of the most popular and effective Six Sigma tools. I'll help you learn about FMEA's risk priority numbers (RPN) and also provide a form to help you use FMEA. We'll wrap-up the lesson by examining a few members of the physical measurement family—metrology, tensile strength, micrometers, and optical comparators.
Lesson 06 - Analyze Part I: The A of DMAIC
In this lesson I'll present several tools that relate to the third component of DMAIC: analyze. Our first order of business today will be learning how to make sound decisions and assess risk. After that, we'll look at tools to help you investigate the processes, problems, and opportunities you defined and measured in the earlier lessons. I'll share how to use regression analysis and cause and effect diagrams. We'll also spend time on force field analysis, storyboards, decision trees, why-why diagrams, and finish up with checksheets and scatter diagrams.
Lesson 07 - Analyze Part II: The A of DMAIC
Are you familiar with the old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words?" Since we're going to be spending a large portion of the lesson discussing flowcharting, I believe this quotation is very relevant. Flowcharts are a fine tool to define processes and analyze what's taking place. We'll look at the ins and outs and the subtleties of creating and using flowcharts. After we discuss flowcharting, we'll jump back into the world of statistics and examine hypothesis testing and analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Lesson 08 - Project Management Phases
In this lesson and the next one, we'll discuss project management as an essential vehicle to help you achieve your Six Sigma plans. We'll begin by discussing the different phases of the project life cycle. Then we'll move on and examine deliverables. Since they represent what customers expect, you need to know how to create and manage them. We'll also define stakeholders and talk about what they expect. I'll give special emphasis to the words "customers" and "stakeholders" to represent those inside and outside your organization.
Lesson 09 - Project Definition and Scheduling
Now that you have a good understanding of the different phases of a project and know all about deliverables, you're ready to learn how to "scope" and schedule a project. Scoping refers to making sure that you set the original boundaries for your project. When you understand all the variables of your project and define the scope properly, your plan and the results that follow have a much better chance of meeting stakeholder expectations. In this lesson, we'll talk about what is arguably the most valuable item in your project management toolbox—a work breakdown structure (WBS). We'll discuss two different versions of WBS and then we'll look at ways to schedule your project.
Lesson 10 - Improve: The I of DMAIC
If you like playing games and solving puzzles, you'll enjoy today's lesson. I'll address the "I element" (improve) of DMAIC by introducing design of experiments (DOE). Although DOE has been around since the 1920s, it's taken a while for organizations to accept it. We'll begin with an overview and discuss what a design and an experiment are. You'll learn about the history of DOE and its nature. I'll identify the principles of sound experimental design and help you work on three DOE problems: one factor at a time (OFAT), full factorial, and fractional factorial DOE.
Lesson 11 - Control: The C of DMAIC
Today we'll finish our examination of DMAIC by featuring the final letter—C for control. I'll share three tools to help you control your operations: run charts, control charts, and process capability. We'll discuss how to create run charts, go through an overview of control charts, and create two different types of control charts. I'll wrap things up by showing you how to use process capability.
Lesson 12 - Thinking Lean
You've just about completed all course requirements except for learning how to think lean—our topic this lesson. Whenever I hear people talk about lean manufacturing or lean thinking, for some reason I think about going on a diet. When I give this notion some thought, it does make sense. Lean thinking means doing more with less. I guess this is how companies succeed: providing more satisfaction and more quality with less effort and less frustration. Our focus on lean thinking will consist of eliminating waste, reducing lead time, and minimizing the impact of constraints.