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Mastering Quality: A Guide to Control Plans

Most attempts to implement changes or improvements are unsuccessful. There are many reasons for implementation failure. One reason for failure could be the lack of monitoring or control of the implementation process. Control plans serve as guides for overseeing, managing, and upholding the implementation quality of a change or improvement. In this blog post, we'll dive into what a Control Plan is, how it's used, and even provide you with a template to kickstart your effective implementation journey.


It can be very challenging to successfully implement changes and improvements within organizations. The bigger the organization, the more difficult implementation can be. Even if a team can successfully implement a major change, maintaining the improvements from the change is unlikely if no monitoring or control plan is in place. Without a control plan, the time and effort spent on planning the change or improvement will be wasted.

Understanding Control Plans

What is a Control Plan?

A Control Plan is a comprehensive document that lays out the most important aspects of a process, along with the methods for keeping an eye on and maintaining those aspects. It's a dynamic tool that makes sure things stay consistent and reliable when producing or delivering a product or service. Teams consist of human beings, and human beings are biased, make mistakes, and become distracted. Control plans keep the team members objective, focused and on track.

Components of a Control Plan

  • Process Characteristics: These are the really important parts of the process that need to be controlled to keep up the quality, excellence, and equity.

  • Measurement Methods: These are the ways and tools used to measure and watch over these important aspects.

  • Frequency of Measurement: How often you'll check these aspects to make sure the quality, excellence, and equity stay on track.

  • Limits: These are like alarms that go off if the process isn't in control. Again, when we say "control", we are referring to processes that maintain the highest quality, excellence, and equity.

  • Response Plan: This is the plan of action if one of these important aspects goes beyond the allowed limits.

  • Roles and Responsibilities: This tells us who's in charge of watching over each aspect and taking action if needed.

  • Documentation: These are the records and paperwork needed to support the control process.

How to Use a Control Plan

Step-by-Step Guide

  • Identify Critical Characteristics: Figure out which parts of the process have the biggest impact on quality.

  • Define Measurement Methods: Pick the right tools and ways to measure and watch over these aspects.

  • Establish Limits: Decide on the acceptable range of variation for each important aspect based on industry rules and what customers want.

  • Assign Responsibilities: Make it clear who's in charge of watching over each aspect and taking action if needed.

  • Develop Response Plans: Write down what to do if one of these important aspects goes beyond what's allowed.

A well-made Control Plan is like the foundation for maintaining quality, excellence, and equity. By carefully defining and watching over the most important process aspects, you make sure the products or services you provide meet the highest standards.

Simply stated, your organization's mission is about people. And the people you serve deserve the best from you and everyone on your team. A control plan will help you serve others better.

Download the free Control Plan template now!

SSREI Control Plan
Download XLSX • 72KB

@2023 Six Sigma Racial Equity Institute

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