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Using Six Sigma As A Problem Solving Methodology For Senior Design Projects

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Teaching Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1428.1 - 10.1428.7



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Paper Authors

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Leonard Perry

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2005-517

Using Six Sigma as a Problem-Solving Methodology for Senior Design Projects

Leonard A. Perry University of San Diego


Senior design projects require students to demonstrate the integrated application of their industrial engineering skills, knowledge, and tools learned throughout their curriculum. At University of San Diego (USD), projects involve identifying and solving a real life problem in the field of industrial engineering. For many students, however, the unstructured nature of these projects present new challenges. “What problem solving methodology can I use to solve an unstructured problem?”

Six Sigma is a proven process improvement methodology used in industry for solving problems. The Six Sigma philosophy and methodology started at Motorola in the 1980’s has gained popularity in industry is based on the DMAIC model which contains five steps: Define, Measure, Improve, and Control. The DMAIC method provides the framework to improve the capabilities of an existing process by reducing variation, defects, or even costs. The DMAIC is a structured problem solving methodology that incorporates a majority of the process improvement tools introduced throughout an Industrial Engineering student’s career at the university. The DMAIC methodology can provide students with the framework and structure necessary to successfully complete an open ended project within the specified timeframe. The paper presents how the DMAIC methodology has been incorporated into the senior design project at USD.


The Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE) department at University of San Diego includes broad coursework across the spectrum of ISyE disciplines including engineering economics, statistics, manufacturing, human factors and operations research. The number of students in each course varies, but usually ranges from 10 to 25 students. The Senior Capstone Course is one semester course that culminates the students’ experience within the department. ISyE students are also required to complete a comprehensive set of general education requirements leading to a nine semester, 149 unit dual B.S./B.A. degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering.


Senior ISyE students are required to take a one semester senior capstone design course. As with many capstone courses, the capstone experience is meant to be an integrative experience in

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright© 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Perry, L. (2005, June), Using Six Sigma As A Problem Solving Methodology For Senior Design Projects Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15291

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