A Framework for Selecting the Best Fit Approach to Solve Business Problems

Presenter: Parto Dehdashti, Master Black Belt, Vanguard, Valley Forge, PA, USA

Co-Presenter: Dawn, M, Toussaint, UX Strategist, Vanguard, Valley Forge, PA, USA

Keywords: QFD, DMADV, DMAIC, Lean, Design Thinking, Comparison, Selection Criteria

Industry: Customer Service, Financial Services, Service

Level: Intermediate


In the problem solving and solution design world, there is a myriad of approaches and tools that are at the disposal of practitioners. At times, there have been objections that an approach takes too long or the expected results have not been achieved. Multiple factors could contribute to this outcome, but one that in our experience has been a major factor is when practitioners default to an approach that they are most familiar, instead of determining the approach that makes the most sense.

This presentation focuses on several popular approaches to problem-solving and design: Lean, DMAIC, DMADV, and Design Thinking. The goal of this presentation is to provide a high-level description of each approach, express similarities and uniqueness of each, and offer key selection criteria. The presentation will also showcase the use of a transformed QFD, a traditional tool used in the DMADV approach, as a way to help with the decision making.

QFD is a process for ensuring that client needs drive the future state functionality of a solution. It helps in organizing client requirements at all levels of the design, quantifying the requirements and comparing them on critical criteria. QFD has shown value in providing a structure to the design process while providing rigor that the solution meets the initial requirements, and documenting the decisions throughout the process. In this presentation, we will show how to use certain components of a QFD (and its benefits) to both differentiate and facilitate the transition between the problem solving/design approaches.