Is Six Sigma just a fad?

There are many different business strategies and improvement programs that become popular for a time, and then fade into obscurity over time. This leads some people to wonder if Six Sigma is just a fad, or if it will remain a popular strategy long into the future. Interestingly, this is a question that has been asked for nearly two decades now and still some people aren’t convinced that Six Sigma is here to stay. As far back as February of 2003 it is possible to find articles calling Six Sigma ‘the latest management fad.’

Continued Growth for Six Sigma

One of the strongest arguments against the idea that Six Sigma is a fad is its continued growth over a long period of time. It was first developed in the 1980’s, and really started to spread throughout the 90’s. If it were ever to be considered a fad, it would be either in the late 90’s or 2000’s, but only if it quickly fell out of favor after that time. Fads only last a short time (typically a year or less).

Today we continue to find new companies adopting the Six Sigma strategies, new individuals seeking Six Sigma certification, and new universities teaching these concepts. This should prove to even the strongest opponents of the program that it is anything but a fad.

Continuous Improvement

One of the key things that drives the continued adoption of Six Sigma is the fact that it allows companies and individuals to learn how to seek continuous improvement in almost all areas of business. By striving for almost perfect output, companies are able to operate more efficiently and therefore become more profitable. In addition, individuals with these certifications continue to remain in demand because of the skills that they bring to the table, which means they can demand higher salaries. While there will always be people saying that the end of Six Sigma is just around the corner, it seems likely that its popularity remain long into the future.


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