Oops! Didn’t see that coming! Part 3

We are pleased to welcome back to my blog consultant and trainer David Roy from Six Sigma Professionals, Inc.



Oops! Didn’t see that coming! Part 3


As a continuation from the June blog, we are now covering the “Conceptualize” phase of the ICOV framework of a rigorous new design process as explained in “Services Design for Six Sigma – A Roadmap for Excellence”.


This phase is important because it conceives, evaluates and selects good design solutions through robust process methodology which ensures alignment to the customer and the business needs.


Many design solutions skip this phase and become typically named as “Launch and Learn”.


The Conceptualize phase consists of two stages and associated Tollgates to validate successful completion of the requirements. 


The Concept Development stage involves translating Customer requirements into solution free Functional requirements, developing the System Level Conceptual Design, generating Concepts for required functions, Concept selection and translation of the Functional Requirements to Design Parameters.Click to Enlarge

An example of a Functional Requirement for a Customer Want of “Speedy Service” could be “Speed of Service” and a Design Parameter could be “Waiting Time


Tollgate 3 Exit Criteria:

  • Assessment that the Conceptual Development Plan & Cost will satisfy the customer base
  • A Decision the design represents an economic opportunity (if appropriate)
  • Verification adequate funding will be available to perform Preliminary Design
  • Identification of the Tollgate Keeper & the appropriate staff
  • An action plan to continue flow-down of the design Functional Requirements


The Preliminary Design stage involves creating the design documentation and configuration management, performing design analysis and testing, translating the Design Parameters into Process Variables and formulating the Production strategy.

An example of further mapping the Design Parameter of “Waiting Time” to a Process Variable could be “Number of Phone Lines


Tollgate 4 Exit Criteria:

  • Acceptance of the selected Solution/Design
  • Agreement the Design is likely to satisfy all Design Requirements
  • Agreement to proceed with the next stage of the selected Solution/Design
  • An action plan to finish the flow-down of the design Functional Requirements to design parameters and process variables


Formal tools which can be used in this phase are QFD, TRIZ/Axiomatic design, Measurement System Analysis (MSA), Failure Mode effect Analysis (FMEA), Design scorecard, Process mapping, Process management, Pugh Concept Selection, Robust Design, Design Scorecards, Design for X and Design reviews.


The next and final blog will cover the Optimize and Validate phases.




David Roy is an integral part of the Six Sigma community. He taught GE’s Jack Welch and entire staff Six Sigma, as well as served as Senior Vice President of Textron Six Sigma. He is a Certified GE Master Black Belt, was instrumental in developing GE’s DMADV (DFSS) methodology, and has taught 3 waves of DFSS Black Belts. David holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from The University of New Hampshire. He is also the co-author “Services Design for Six Sigma – A Roadmap for Excellence”


 » Part 1
 » Part 2

Published by shunt27

I am a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at Palisade Corporation.

Join the Conversation


  1. I’d like to know more about your use of QFD. It’s a system-wide, top-down approach to policy/strategy deployment…is that something that’s widely in use in GE?

  2. Rip, I need some clarification on your question.

    “Top-down approach to policy/strategy deployment” refers to a Hoishin Planning methodology while we are promoting requirements flow down methodology in QFD (Quality Function Deployment) or House of Quality.

    The QFD methodology was used widely throughout GE’s Six Sigma Deployment. I know that GE Power Systems used a QFD with each major project (order) to adequately manage the customers high level wants and needs through design, production, installation and operation.

    I used the QFD at GE Capital Fleet Services as part of the DMADV methodology in implementing a Customer Relationship Management solution.

    The key aspects of the QFD are the four houses in which requirements translation occurs.

    In HOQ 1 the High Level Wants and Needs are mapped to Critical to Satisfaction (CTS) Measures. All aspects of this house should be in the Voice of the Customer.

    In HOQ 2 the Critical to Satisfaction (CTS) Measures are mapped to Functional Requirements. The Functional Requirements should be “solution free”

    In HOQ 3 the Functional Requirements are mapped to Design Parameters.

    In HOQ 4 the Design Parameters are mapped to Process Parameters.

    I hope this provides a clear response to your question.


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