How Six Sigma and Project Management Benefit Each Other

If you’re looking to save costs and increase revenue with the next project, you might consider an effective and efficient way to do so while improving the end result. Despite their differences, Six Sigma and project management both seek to improve processes, and integrating their methods captures the strengths of both disciplines to drive successful project completion.

Differences Between Six Sigma and Project Management

Though they share goals, the way Six Sigma and project management achieve them are quite different, according to Six Sigma Daily. Six Sigma is a highly-structured and data-driven way to develop long-term commitments to solutions that avoid recurring defects in the future. Using statistical analysis and tools that identify the root causes of problems, Six Sigma works toward continual improvement.

Project management is typically used for one-time projects with a focus on balancing stakeholders, budget creation, risk management and actual project completion rather than the details. Though there isn’t a priority on understanding the voice of the customer and long-term improvement, project management is best for effective planning and managing risk for quick and efficient project completion.

How They Benefit Each Other

Though Six Sigma has the structure and discipline to bring success, it does not focus on the actual management of the project, whereas project management literally brings that into priority from start through completion. Integrated successfully, project management should address the process control and Six Sigma, the troubleshooting issues.


Six Sigma’s DMAIC process is incredibly useful when it comes to getting down to the details of the project. The acronym for define, measure, analyze, improve and control phases perfectly sums up Six Sigma’s goals, starting with clarifying the issue and quantifying it. It continues with determining the issue’s root cause and creating a solution that is repeated in the future to avoid reoccurrence. By defining the problems in a project, Six Sigma gains the statistical knowledge necessary to reduce the chances of it happening again.

Six Sigma may fail in some areas because it lacks project support and resources, which is where project management comes in.

Project Life Cycle

The strength of project management comes from its goal to control change through identifying the scope, time, cost and quality attributes of a project. In these ways, project management can help Six Sigma-centric projects formally plan for budgeting, scheduling and resource management.

Alternately, Six Sigma’s DMAIC approach can help management make an informed decision about when to move on to the next phase. The project management phases are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling and closing. By quantifying success with the Six Sigma approach, project management-centric projects have a better idea of when to move on to the next phase and monitoring overall project progress.


Six Sigma can also be integrated into project management to quantify its attributes by defining scope management requirements, creating a clear timeline, maintaining a strict budget and performing realistic assessments of a project and team’s capabilities, according to the Project Management Institute. Though many projects in project management tend to fail due to organizational issues from the start, the rigid structure of Six Sigma gives project management a way of maintaining optimal organization by measuring problems and defining empirical results. Six Sigma can even determine the value of a project to its target audience to help project management better prioritize its tasks and results.

How Professionals Can Benefit from Both Certifications

If you’re having a hard time choosing between the two, getting a certification in project management as well as Six Sigma is a sure way to grow your knowledge, potential and competitive edge. Many professionals choose to get both since both certifications will advance your project process knowledge— therefore making you a prime candidate for jobs that require one or both since you can add more value to their project processes. Additionally, they will allow a form of flexibility to choose what you implement in the long run and widen your future options.

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