Implementing Successful Six Sigma Surveys

Six Sigma Surveys have become an integral part of business nowadays. They are a good source of data to understand the voice of the customer. In the Measure phase of the DMAIC methodology, this data plays a very important role in determining the Critical To Quality (CTQs) factors of a project.

The proper study and detailed information in these areas helps ensure that the improvements being planned start from changes in these areas of the organization.

The processes that need improvement can be pinpointed easily from the data gathered. However, it is necessary to have a very effective survey, which will have very effective and measurable goals.

Measures To Get the Best Information from Six Sigma Surveys

Six Sigma surveys are great aids to decision-making. They will be effective if they are directly linked to the organizational goals and policies.

Effective surveys are those which have the ability to get information that will help team leaders to plan from the various details collected. Non-effective surveys are those which will require a grade of the survey areas.

These surveys may have no impact on the organizational goals and may be kept aside without any utility in the Six Sigma implementation.

Keep the Survey Short And Sweet – And Define the Purpose

There are many surveys undertaken by various organizations, and customers are accustomed to such surveys. To get the best relevant information from your survey, it should be effective, short and sweet and not too lengthy for the respondents.

People often complain about the time taken to respond to surveys. A proper definition of the survey can also make it easier, from the point of view of the respondent, to give relevant responses.

Clarity in Questions

There are times when the questions are framed in such a way that the respondent ends up being confused and provides incorrect or irrelevant answers to the questions. The format should be simple, and not such that the respondents misunderstand some of the questions.

The respondents selected should also be familiar to that particular survey area. This is akin to asking a person who does not use a computer to state what other features are required to be added to the computer system.

In this Six Sigma scenario, a process owner will be the best person to respond to questions related to the process they are handling, rather than the director, who is not involved in the daily activities.

Construct Questionnaires Carefully

The formats of questionnaires are generally common throughout certain industries. There may also be a set format in the organization that is being followed. It is important that the questionnaires are constructed carefully, so that the responses are perfect to the expectations.

For example, you may be using 1 (One) as the best rating for your organizations surveys. However, if once you decide to use 1 as the worst and 5 as the best, then the respondents are bound to make a mistake and answer with 1 as the best, if they do not read the instructions carefully.

Such a survey would be irrelevant, as the results would be meaningless or contrary to the truth.

Preferably, experienced people should undertake surveys. To be effective, surveys should be carried out by well-qualified and trained people. Surveys are important to the success of the Six Sigma project.


Originally developed by Bill Smith at Motorola in 1986, the Six Sigma Training program was created using some of the most innovative quality improvement methods from the preceding six decades. The term "Six Sigma" is derived from a field of statistics known as process capability. The term 6 Sigma refers to the ability of manufacturing processes to produce a very high proportion of output within specification. Processes that operate with "six sigma quality" over the short term are assumed to produce long-term defect levels below 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Six Sigma's goal is to improve overall processes to that level of quality or better.