ISO 13053 is the new international standard for Six Sigma. Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma are designed to make existing processes better, faster and more cost effective. Both Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma are built on Total Quality Management (TQM) and Project Management concepts.
The new standard is presented in two parts. ISO 13053-1 refers to the core model used in Six Sigma. This is called the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control or DMAIC model. ISO 13053-2 refers to the specific tools necessary to facilitate the model’s success. ISO 13053-2 also offers fact sheets on various tools that may be implemented independently.
The benefit of the new ISO 13053 standards is worldwide exposure. Speaking a common language can increase the success of implementing a change management process. The challenge of the ISO 13053 standard, specifically for Lean Six Sigma (LSS) professionals, is that the LSS approach relies on Six Sigma methodology as well as Lean Manufacturing/Thinking (Lean). Although many Lean factors are included in the new ISO standard, the standard, by no means, includes the complete body of knowledge that Lean supports.
Another challenge for the LSS professional is that the DMAIC model is approached somewhat differently in Lean Six Sigma projects. For example, In Six Sigma projects, the DMAIC model is viewed primarily as a waterfall method. Once a phase is completed, it is not revisited. There are strong tollgates or checklists between each phase of the DMAIC model. Each tollgate must be completed before moving on the next phase. Also, in some Six Sigma environments it is necessary to use a particular type of statistical software to complete the Analyze phase of the model. Certain tools are promoted in each phase and it is not encouraged to modify the tool.
In Lean Six Sigma, the DMAIC model steps are often presented in a circle rather than a waterfall. In LSS, It is perfectly acceptable to move back to a phase, if the project manager determines that it would be better for the process improvement effort. Tollgates are more personalized. Tollgates may contain items that the project manager simply does not want to forget. Tollgates are not usually as restrictive as in the Six Sigma version. Basic tools are more robust in LSS version of the DMAIC than they are in Six Sigma. Although LSS would support learning the tool correctly there is no reluctance in LSS to modify, enhance or customize the tool. Finally, although statistical software is often used by LSS professionals in the Measure and Analyze phase of the DMAIC model, there is strong support in LSS to use simple spreadsheet software and statistical add-ins.
However, both Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma rely heavily on the DMAIC model and support the DMAIC toolbox. Six Sigma’s foundation is in reducing defects through the use of statistical models. The DMAIC model creates a structure to support this goal,
However, Lean Six Sigma also incorporates tools that identify and eliminate waste. LSS places a stronger emphasis on speed. It promotes understanding the human factors involved in process improvement. In Lean Six Sigma, the DMAIC model has been fine-tuned to support these goals as well.
Why does Lean Six Sigma approach the DMAIC model differently than Six Sigma? Generally speaking, Six Sigma professionals are working on large projects with multiple resources. These projects are large enough to require participation from several resources and/or departments. In fact, the department that handles building the current process map may be different than the department that handles data analysis. Therefore, strict guidelines and tollgates are necessary. Phases need to be complete and accurate before being passed on to another department or resource.
Lean Six Sigma projects tend to be smaller in nature. The project manager may be the primary, and sometimes only, resource. Whereas this creates more responsibility for the project manager it also offers more flexibility when moving through each phase of the model. Lean Six Sigma projects, because they are smaller, may not need as much attention in the Measure and Analyze phases. In fact, in smaller projects, over measuring and over analyzing may actually represent waste. In most cases, the LSS project manager is not dedicated to one process improvement. Managing multiple projects creates even a stronger need that the model be flexible.
ISO 13053 is valuable to the true Six Sigma effort and to larger Lean Six Sigma projects. Lean Six Sigma professionals can benefit from understanding how Six Sigma should work in a perfect world. Best practices are certainly are important. However, the Lean Six Sigma professional should keep in mind that including Lean philosophy and tools will also benefit the process improvement effort.

Author's Bio: 

Terra Vanzant-Stern, PhD is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and author of Lean Six Sigma: Practical Bodies of Knowledge. She is the director of the Accelerated Lean Six Sigma program at SSD Global University and specializes in ISO 13503 as well as Innovative Design for Six Sigma.