Six Sigma vs CMMI

six sigma vs cmmi - Invensis Learning

During these challenging times, organizations must maintain high morale and competitive spirit between co-workers. Six Sigma is an excellent program that follows the data-driven methodology, which gives the employees the necessary power to stop and rectify problems. Six sigma can help achieve organizational change that sustains for many years. The belt system presented by Six Sigma makes learning organized and builds individuals who can help address organizational issues. It brings more problem solvers to execute proper solutions. 

On the other hand, the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is an improvement model that enhances employees’ productivity to see constant growth in performance. Its business model not only revolves around improvement but also makes sure to work on behavioral mode. At the first trial of this model, it was more inclined towards software engineering. Now, CMMI has been adapted to many newer versions. The latest CMMI version spreads its wings across every industry sector, like hardware, software, and service development. The evolution of CMMI allowed organizations to design cost-effective models that are easy to deploy and integrate. 

In this article on Six Sigma vs CMMI, let us check out the major differences between Six Sigma and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI).

Key Elements & Approaches of Six Sigma

The elements and approaches involved in Six Sigma are many with slight variations. Also, it is essential to note the principles that guide the procedure. Six Sigma fixates a lot on the stability and standardization of process results. One of the most critical elements is organizational involvement. The lower, the middle, and the upper management give a shot to achieve continuous quality improvement. Companies that follow Six Sigma also conduct regular evaluations to assess the uncertainties. It helps in saving money by detecting the defects in less time. 

Road Map to Success in Six Sigma

D- Define

The project teams call this phase “the burning platform.” Defining or detecting the problem involves proper alignment with sponsors and team members. It is highlighting the existence of the question because it impacts the company’s bottom line. 

M- Measure

Here, the teams go on a data hunt to collect facts, charts, and graphs. The existing process is understood easily. Monitoring the manufacturing unit and estimating the losses are some tasks conducted by the Six Sigma project team.  

A- Analyze

The objective of Analyze is to cross-check the gathered information with the root cause of the issue. It helps the team to dig deeper and find the real pain causing low product quality. Root cause analysis supports the statements presented to the sponsors and supervisors. 

I- Improve

Improve has only one focal point, i.e., develop and implement the best plan. It involves going back to the whiteboard and brainstorming ideas to eliminate all root causes. It is done by creating a fixed timeline and sticking to it throughout the entire implementation process. 

C- Control 

With the sudden spike inefficiency, one gets overwhelmed with the response, but the actual problem starts now. Controlling the profits and growth in management is essential. A log or control chart can be used to monitor the processes. This ensures quick solutions to any incoming problems. 

Capabilities & Objectives of CMMI

CMMI has two levels, called maturity and capability. These two levels are used as metrics to characterize the overall potential and performance of the business model. The newest versions clearly state that there are five capability levels to create an evolutionary path to performance improvement. 

The five maturity levels are : 

  • Initial 
  • Managed
  • Defined
  • Quantitatively Managed 
  • Optimizing 

In the initial stages of implementation, the improvement processes are unreactive and cannot predict the results. With an increase in maturity, the plans become more organized, and the conditions are set to optimum levels to get anticipated results. Once the management crosses level three or four, they see visible refinement in work culture, service development, and customer satisfaction. 

CMMI sets high-level objectives to meet industry standards. It is paramount for any business model to take up new challenges and reach greater heights. 

Some of the objectives include:

  • Impeccable product quality. CMMI makes it a mission to improve product quality daily. They pay attention to details to make the product faultless. It is achieved by setting performance benchmarks and outlining weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. 
  • Putting clients on retainers and bringing immense value to shareholders. Driving towards landing big-time clients for many years. 
  • Streamlining focuses on customer satisfaction. It helps in increasing market share in the long term. 

What are the significant differences between Six Sigma & CMMI?

Six Sigma and CMMI come with many differences and objectives. Six Sigma belt professionals/consultants try to motivate employees and set goals for them to enhance their communication skills. But in the case of CMMI, they tend to build a framework that highlights vital processes. 

Six Sigma develops high-level designs to meet customer needs, whereas CMMI implements highly reactive organizations that are always ready to guide improvement processes. The focus between both differs by huge margins. Six Sigma uses statistical analysis and data charts to find wastage and manufacturing defects, and to do the same, CMMI uses technical processes.

The problem-solving approaches used by both programs are different too. Six Sigma uses root cause analysis, 3p’s, and 5 why’s process. In the case of CMMI, there must be a constant improvement and one should follow dynamic techniques and tools to do the same. One last difference lies in the application. Six Sigma has flexible and tailored plans that suit any industry, but CMMI is limited to the software domain. 

Combination of CMMI and Six Sigma – Would it work? 

Many companies struggle in some areas and excel in others. It is recommend deploying a combined CMMI and Six Sigma system to fill in the gaps. The traditional barriers will be disrupted when this kind of integration happens. The first step to take forward is to assign CMMI to areas of implementation and Six Sigma to the real projects. Keeping in mind that Six Sigma will use DMAIC or Lean to define problems and create new opportunities by clubbing these together. When Six Sigma aligns itself with CMMI’s objectives, management is said to be going in the right direction, eventually creating organizational growth. 

As mentioned in the above sections regarding CMMI’s maturity and capability levels, it can be taken to the next level of performance when matched with Six Sigma. In one instance, the Six Sigma can integrate Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control methods with QPM issues to increase the maturity levels from bottom to top. 

Six Sigma can act as a backbone or support system to create optimum profiles for CMMI. The critical appraisals can be modified and made cost-effective. Both programs complement each other well, and they help in prioritizing portfolio management and project selection. Once the process implementation process is all set and assigned to respective teams, Six Sigma takes care of controlling and sustaining daily improvements.


Six Sigma can act as a benefactor to the existing CMMI metrics program. If an organization is more inclined towards software development, it should combine existing CMMI with Six Sigma to have a broader opinion on other industries. At level four in capability, many organizations have a big chance to advance in measurement processes. It is accomplished by taking qualitative aspects of Six Sigma into account. Another massive benefit that Six Sigma presents is that it can generate trained practitioners who have worked on many organizations using statistical methods and their application. With their expertise and suggestions, Six Sigma can aid the complete framework of management. This merger does not compromise on continuous improvement. It will emerge as a robust system that can tackle problems instantly, and Six Sigma will fit right in without any complications. 

Getting the workforce trained in popular Quality Management Certification Courses will certainly help enterprises to get the best of both Six Sigma and CMMI in an organization. 

Some of the popular quality management certification courses that individuals and enterprise teams can take up are:

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Training
Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Training
Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification Training
Lean Fundamentals Training
RCA through Six Sigma Training

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Diego Rodriguez works as a Six Sigma Black Belt professional for a leading manufacturing company. He possesses ample experience in various aspects of quality management, such as Lean, Six Sigma, Root Cause Analysis, Design Thinking, and more. His primary focus is to conduct tests and monitor the production phase and also responsible for sorting out the items that fail to meet the quality standards. Diego’s extensive work in the field has resulted in being an honorary member of quality associations globally. His areas of research include knowledge management, quality control, process design, strategic planning, and organizational performance improvement.


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