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What is a Six Sigma Control Plan?

A Lean Six Sigma control plan is a detailed written process description. It outlines the steps that must be taken to keep a process or device running at its current level of performance. Control plans provide a detailed description of each step and the parameters that must be monitored to avoid deviations or variations from the mean performance of a batch of products.

Why use a Control Plan?
Why use a Control Plan?

A Lean Six Sigma control plan consists of two segments:

  • Process monitoring is a tool called a process summary. This summary allows visibility, review, and action on all important process outputs within an organization.
  • Process control uses a tool called a process control plan. This plan creates feedback loops and takes action to ensure that the process is under constant control. A good process control plan allows you to change equipment, materials, information, or throughput rates without affecting the quality of the process.

The Process Management Summary

The process management summary is used to gather all critical-to-quality outputs (or CTQs) for a process department, division, or entire company. The summary can be rolled up to any level required by your company for monitoring, reviewing, and taking action to ensure acceptable business performance and process quality. Add the Lean Six Sigma project’s CTQs each time you complete it to your summary. The administrative section of this summary is used to identify the organizational areas that are being discussed, as well as the revision level and the date. The main body is where the summary’s purpose is captured. It provides enough information to allow anyone to easily see the status and how it relates to downstream processes.

The Process Control Plan

The process control plan serves as a companion to the process management summary. The process control plan helps you to concentrate on the Xs, the inputs to your process. The inputs are defined in the formula Y = f(x). These are the crucial Xs determined by the Lean Six Sigma project. You can also place the (CTQs) on a process control program.

The process control plan, when done properly, creates a complete picture that includes all inputs, outputs, and activities for a single process.

What’s the purpose of a Six Sigma Control Plan and how can it help you? The purpose of the control phase of the DMAIC roadmap is to ensure that performance improvements made by the project group are sustained over time. A Control Plan is a summary of all information pertinent to control the improved process.

Why use a Control Plan?

What to know about a Control Plan?
What to know about a Control Plan?

A Six Sigma Control Plan is a critical tool in the Six Sigma methodology used to ensure that the improvements made during a project are sustained over time. It’s an essential document that outlines the steps to monitor, maintain, and control the process improvements achieved through the Six Sigma project. There are several benefits Six Sigma Control Plan, here are a few of them:

  • Sustaining Improvement: One of the primary purposes of it is to sustain the improvements made during a Six Sigma project. It establishes procedures to ensure that the changes implemented continue to deliver the desired results.
  • Standardization: It helps standardize processes and procedures, ensuring that everyone involved follows the same protocols. This consistency minimizes errors and variations, contributing to improved quality and reliability.
  • Risk Reduction: Identifying potential risks and creating mitigation strategies within it, helps minimize or eliminate the chances of defects or errors in the future.

A well-designed control plan can help the business avoid negative business effects from process flaws or process deterioration. It also helps product and process owners track and correct the performance of Key Performance Input Variables (KPIVs) and Key Performance Output Variables (KPOVs).

What to know before developing the Control Plan

Lean Six Sigma Control Plans are crucial to decision-making and should be prepared after careful consideration and assessment of the project’s product status from all angles.  These attributes must be considered before the project can begin.

  • Input and Output: It is essential to determine the various IO parameters as well as the stages at which they enter the exit Control Process. This will ensure a free flow of control information, which is vital to the project’s success.
  • Specifications and Measurements: A Control Plan should be developed after careful analysis of customer perceptions and expectations. This ensures that the final product/service meets the customer’s specifications.
  • Reporting and Sampling Frequency: Having a set schedule allows for adequate time to correct any errors. Regular reviews allow for tighter control and monitoring.
  • Process Design and Execution: The Control Plan is built around the central process. It is created by determining the appropriate standards and setting performance criteria.
  • Corrective Measures: Any Control Plan should include a framework for implementing corrective actions.
  • Process Owner Identification and Documentation: Process owners refer to the persons or groups of people who are responsible for and have the authority to make any changes to the process during a project’s progress. It is crucial to identify Process Owners early to establish accountability.
  • Recording – It is essential to document information at all stages of a project to facilitate planning, testing, implementation, and assessment. To record and store information about a product or process, plan sheets are used.

Here is an example:

What is a control plan in six sigma?
What is a control plan in Six Sigma?

How to structure

A Lean Six Sigma Control Plan can include as many or as few items as necessary to meet the requirements of the project or process being considered. The following are some examples of the items:

  • The Critical to Quality Characteristics (CTQ): These are the key quantitative and measurable characteristics of a product/process whose performance limits or specifications must be met to satisfy customers. This allows you to align design specifications with customer needs.
  • Process Flowchart: Many Control Plans include a visual representation that shows the process flow with key decision-making steps highlighted. This provides a high-level overview of all stages and stakeholders for quick and easy reference.
  • Specification Characteristic: To quantify a CTQ, a product characteristic must be identified. This column records the characteristics of a specification. 
  • Process Step: This column contains the name or label for the step of the process. 
  • Measurement Method: This column can be used to describe the method used to measure.
  • Specifications: This item can be used to record both the numerical values and the unit of measurement. 
  • Frequency of Measurement: Indicates the frequency at which samples are selected for measurement.
  • Sample Size: Indicates how large the sample is to be measured.
  • Corrective Action: All corrective actions taken at that step are documented and recorded for future reference.
  • Additional documentation: These fields may include the name of the person who took the measurement, the date, time, and place at which it was taken, revision number, version control, and location.
  • Standards: For manufacturing operations and control planning used in businesses, the quality standard and SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) guidelines may be recorded.


When done properly, the Lean Six Sigma control plan creates a complete picture that includes all inputs, outputs, and activities for a single process. The control plan is critical to be a focal point for the control of the improved process.