SIX SIGMA GLOSSARY PROCESS IMPROVEMENT AND SIX SIGMA
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Deming and Shewhart
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 Assignable Cause Variation

Synonym for Special Cause Variation

 Common Cause Variation

The sources of variation in a process that are truly random. They usually conform to a normal distribution, or a distribution that is closely related to the normal distribution.

Common cause variation is inherent in the process and can only be reduced by changes to the system; typically management action. See also 'Special Cause Variation'

 General Cause Variation

Synonym for Common Cause Variation

 PDCA

See Plan Do Check Act

 PDSA

A synonym for Plan Do Study Act

 Plan Do Check Act

A cycle for process improvement projects suggested by Shewhart (see Plan Do Study Act).

 Plan Do Study Act

A cycle for process improvement projects suggested by J Edwards Deming. Based on the original Plan Do Check Act cycle suggested by Shewhart:

 Plan: Develop a plan for improving the quality of a process Do: Execute the plan on a prototype scale Study: Evaluate Feedback and adjust or confirm the plan Act: Build the plan into the system

 Special Cause Variation

Special Cause Variation is caused by factors that are non-random. Special causes can be identified and removed from the process.

Processes that contain special cause variation are not stable, or capable, and cannot be effectively monitored using control charts. The main purpose of control charts is the timely identification of special causes so that they can be eliminated. See also 'Common Cause Variation'.

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