Numerous literatures are available to illustrate DMADV approach of DFSS. Differences of the descriptions of the approach by different experts are quite disturbing. Such differences are also justified by claiming that R&D is born to have heterogeneity in thinking. Diverse thinking may add better value to improve originating more innovations. Hence criticism to bring uniformity in describing DMADV approach may not be motivating one. However, what are missing in such descriptions is that 1) criticizing the present Design and Development Process and identifying opportunities available for defects and waste which subsequently give rise to problems after launch of the product or process, 2) linking the opportunities to prevent in DMADV approach and 3) robustifying the DMADV approach so that DMADV ultimately may become an alternative to the present Design and Development processes. In this journey, effort is made to illustrate DMADV approach is to a station towards to add more strength to the DMADV approach to serve the larger purpose of R&D better. Phase by phase

Define Phase:

Purpose of the design phase is to obtain full clarity of the stakeholders’ requirements and expectations from the new product.  Define phase should start with establishing the importance of the new project from the point of view of Annual Business Plan, Strategic Business Plan and Multigeneration plan (ABP, SBP and MGP). MGP, MGAP and Project Charter can serve as tools to serve this purpose. Next step should be to identify as many risks as possible and start mitigating the high risk components. This exercise of risk mitigation will improve the quality and credibility of feasibility study report for the new product development. Tools such as Risk Mitigation Plan, Feasibility Study format would help to serve this purpose. This exercise should be done after establishing the importance of the project; otherwise there will be a tendency to decline the project under the banner of feasibility study. 3rd steps should be to identify all the stakeholders, identify their requirements, consolidate the requirements, classify the requirements and translate the consolidated requirements to in the form of measurable External CTQs. This exercise will require more of marketing information than design information. Tools which would be of great help in this stage are Product Life Cycle, Customer complaint data analysis of similar products, Conjoint analysis, Contextual enquiry, Tree diagram, Affinity diagram, Stakeholders’ analysis, CAP, Kano model and ECTQ dashboard. ECTQ dashboard will make a measurable promise to the stakeholders who would be visited in Verify phase to verify if the promises to the stakeholders are met with or not. Define phase deliberations can be made based on a product or products which are in the market already. Selection of such products as base is very critical for the success of the DFSS project.

Measure Phase:

Purpose of the Measure phase of DFSS would be to link external requirements to internal design requirements of the base product/s on which the concept of new product will take birth. Quality Function deployment is the most important tools to serve this purpose. While developing the design of the new product one has to take the design to suit to field application, producibility, sourceability of the products or input require etc. Theme of concurrent design would be needed to decide the layers of the QFD. Ultimate Measure phase will create a platform to criticize the base product/s in the form of Design scoreboard.

Analyse Phase:

Analysis phase has four pronged purpose: 1. Freeze conceptual design of new products in terms of design configurations (DCs) and identify design parameters (DPs) corresponding to high level and detailed level DCs. This stage is quite critical and also is the most upstream design process adequately configured to meet the External requirements. Tools such as transfer functions, simulation, design of experiments, DFX, Axiomatic design, TRIZ, Pugh matrix, Fault Tree Analysis, Reliability engineering etc. would be useful at this stage.   2) Mature the final DPs by criticizing evolved DCs using Design FMEA and Process FMEA, 3) Determine targets for Design parameters using tools such as Transfer functions, Regression analysis, Simulation, Design of experiments, Taguchi’s robust product design method, Response surface methodologies, GD&T, FEA etc. and lastly, 4) Establish tolerance around the target of each DP. Tools used to establish tolerances are statistical tolerancing, stack tolerancing, Regression analysis, Taguchi method, GD&T etc. Clarity and knowledge extracted in analysis phase will drastically reduce complexities in Design phase.

Design Phase:

Purpose of the design phase is to create a design which would optimally accommodate the evolved conceptual designs (DCs), design parameters with their targets and tolerances. Design phase should concentrate in documenting or creating soft designs, reviewing the design at every stage and optimizing as required, and ultimately creating a prototype. Output of the design phase would be High-level and Detailed level design lay-out in document form or soft form, prototype and three control plans: Production Quality Control plans, Field quality control plans and Supplier Quality Control Plans for critical suppliers. Production Quality Control Plans would be used as cautions in production or service provision process to produce and preserve the design quality, Field quality control plan will give cautions for the use of the product in the field and the suppliers of critical input or materials would be guided by Supplier Quality Control plans to assure quality of the material or other input. Project management tools are of immense help at this stage.

Verify Phase:

Purpose of the Verify phase is to verify that the produced design in test market fully meet the the stakeholders’ requirements in composite. Installation, Commissioning, Start-up, Production trials, Data collection using three control plans, compiling collected data to fill in the ECTQ dashboard are few activities which are in sequence to ensure that the produced design is of Six Sigma quality from its inception.


Illustration of the approach has been deliberately made in generic mode as the same descriptions create specific relevance to different designs such as product design, service design, software design, process design, system design, competency designs; even with product designs such as engineering designs, construction designs, chemical or pharmaceutical formulations, petrochemical designs, agricultural designs etc. DFSS is ideally suited to R&D professionals.