Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Definitions

Glossary terms, history, people and definitions about Lean and Six Sigma


Acronym for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. It is a way to summarize how people view the underlying conditions for which they plan, make decisions, manage and assess risks, solve problems, and implement change and improvements.

From Wikipedia:

  • V = Volatility: the nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.
  • U = Uncertainty: the lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.
  • C = Complexity: the multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain and confusion that surrounds organization.
  • A = Ambiguity: the haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.

VUCA can be used to gain more control over a complex world by identifying as many situations and threats as possible under each of the 4 categories, then managing each situation individually, finding its own causes and resolutions or mitigations.

Bob Johansen offers ways to combat these situations in his book, Leaders Make the Future, and is summarized in the MindTools article

  • Counter Volatility With Vision
  • Meet Uncertainty With Understanding
  • React to Complexity With Clarity
  • Fight Ambiguity With Agility