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Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma is a structured methodology to improve the business and IT processes. Depending upon the scope of implementation Lean Six Sigma can be defined as philosophy, methodology, tool set or metrics. 1

Lean Six Sigma is a combination of two improvement methodologies – “Lean” and “Six Sigma”. Lean focuses on reducing the non-value activities in a process sequence of delivering a service/product to customers.  Six-Sigma is a structured approach employing various statistical tools to improve the performance.

In the current business environment, “Lean” can be deployed without combining with Six-Sigma. However,  Six-Sigma is always deployed as “Lean Six Sigma”.

Summary ratings:

Please refer the Rating Criteria.

Six Sigma is based on statistical process control which is centuries old. The Six Sigma as we know was introduced by Motorola and publicly shared after 1988.

The focus of industry adoption in the context of IT Service Management or Enterprise Service Management is not as high as the adoption in manufacturing sector.

Lean Six Sigma practitioners use statistical tools include Advanced Excel, SPSS and Minitab.  These are generic tools and not tailored for Six Sigma and IT Service Management.

Until a decade ago, each enterprise adopted their own Lean Six Sigma certification programs. The curriculum and rigour varied between the companies. Currently there are independent certification providers.

Lean Six Sigma does not support any assessment.

Longevity5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Industry Adoption4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Tool Support3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)
Training Support3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)
Assessment Support0 out of 5 stars (0 / 5)

Context Diagam

Lean Six Sigma can be implemented as part of Continual Service Management life cycle of ITIL.  It should be noted that Lean Six Sigma is not specific to IT and can be used to improve any business process.


Lean Six Sigma typically follows the following process approach.2. The approach can be tailored by different projects depending upon the nature of improvement or design.  The process stages need not be linear and often involve iterative loops.

  • Define the problem, improvement activity, opportunity for improvement, the project goals, and customer (internal and external) requirements.
  • Measure process performance.
  • Analyze the process to determine root causes of variation, poor performance (defects).
  • Improve process performance by addressing and eliminating the root causes.
  • Control the improved process and future process performance.

Related Frameworks/processes:

ITIL Continual Service Improvement


SFIA’s  Business Process Improvement 


Certification and Training

There are two major certification bodies for Lean Six Sigma. The ASQ certification requires an examination and completion of a project for Black Belt Certification.


The International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) is a Professional Association that is an independent certification body that accredits training providers.  IASSC certifications do not mandate project completion as a requirement of certification


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