All Over The Place

Note: this article is not yet 100%. It is available as we are collecting feedback from our colleagues.

Training courses and certification exams for six sigma are all over the place. There are no generally accepted standards for either training courses or certification exams.

For example, I have found Certified Six Sigma Green Belt classes starting at $14.99 and going up to $8,400.00. This is clearly a situation of caveat emptor or buyer beware. It’s ironic that a program focused on reducing variation has evolved into such uncontrolled confusion.

For this article, I’ll stick to standard six sigma. I won’t muddy the waters with lean six sigma, lean sigma, constraint sigma, or some other derivative.

Six Sigma Confusing

Let The Sun Shine

6 Sigma Belts

One ray of sunshine does light our way through the chaos. There is general agreement on levels of knowledge known as “belts” and the roles that people with these belts will take on six sigma projects. The most widely recognized six sigma belts and the corresponding roles are:

  • Yellow:
  • Green:
  • Black:
  • Master Black:

One additional role, that is not a belt, is the Champion. This is…

No Ownership

The challenge with training courses and certification exams is understandable as no one “owns” the six sigma belt classifications.

Add in the fact of an immense body of knowledge, and you have an additional challenge of segmenting which concepts, terms, and problem solving tools should be allocated to each of the three belts.

At risk of aggravating every six sigma training provider, the following sections identify the body of knowledge that should be included in the curriculum for each belt.

6 Sigma Belt Curriculum

Yellow Belt

The curriculum for Yellow Belt training should be a general introduction to key concepts and topics. A company specific training class should include the case for change and explore successful six sigma projects that have been completed.

The list of concepts, terms, and tools includes:

  • Cost of quality
  • Defects per opportunity
  • Define Measure Analyze Improve Control (DMAIC)
  • History – continuous improvement
  • History – the quality gurus
  • History – total quality management
  • Quality
  • Quality at the source
  • Six sigma champion
  • Six sigma roles
  • Standard deviation
  • Types of inspection
  • Variation

.

6 Sigma Yellow Belt

Green Belt

The curriculum for Green Belt training should include a deeper diver on everything covered in Yellow Belt. In addition, there should be a well-defined six sigma project that walks through Define Measure Analyze Improve Control (DMAIC), includes rigorous data analysis, and addresses reducing defects per opportunity. Learning can be enhanced and accelerated when the project is a scripted example that includes data and information designed for learning all of the required concepts, terms, and tools.

The list of concepts, terms, and tools includes:

  • 5 Whys
  • Affinity diagram
  • Balanced scorecard
  • Bar charts
  • Benchmarking
  • Best practices
  • Brainstorming
  • Cause and effect diagram
  • Check Sheet
  • Common cause
  • Control chart
  • Control plan
  • Correlation analysis
  • Critical Path Method (CPM)
  • Critical success factors for six sigma
  • Critical to quality
  • Defects per unit
  • Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) introduction
  • External customer
  • Fish bone diagram
  • Flow charts
  • Focus groups
  • Force field analysis
  • Gantt chart
  • Histogram
  • House of Quality introduction
  • Internal customer
  • Interviews
  • Ishikawa diagram
  • Lean introduction
  • Lean six sigma explanation
  • Learning curve
  • Linking projects to strategy
  • Mistake proofing
  • Normal distribution
  • Observation
  • Pareto analysis
  • Plan Do Check Act (PDCA)
  • Poke Yoke
  • Problem statement
  • Process boundaries
  • Process components
  • Process mapping
  • Process owners
  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
  • Project charter
  • Project closure
  • Project metrics
  • Project objectives
  • Project risk analysis
  • Project selection
  • Quality Function Deployment (QFD) introduction
  • RightPage
  • Risk priority number
  • Root cause analysis
  • Run chart
  • Scatter diagram
  • Six sigma belts
  • Six Sigma project failures
  • Spaghetti diagram
  • Special cause
  • Stakeholders
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC) introduction
  • Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (SWOT) Analysis
  • Suppliers Inputs Process Outputs Customers (SIPOC)
  • Surveys
  • Team development
  • Team roles
  • Tree diagram
  • Value stream mapping
  • Voice of customer
  • Work instructions

Note that very complex concepts, terms, and tools are only “introduced” during Green Belt training. Heavy statistical analysis tools are not appropriate.

6 Sigma Green Belt

.

6 Sigma Green Belt

.

6 Sigma Green Belt

.

6 Sigma Green Belt

.

6 Sigma Green Belt

.

Black Belt

The curriculum for Black Belt training should include a deeper diver on everything covered in Green Belt. In addition, there should be a sanctioned six sigma project that requires rigorous use of Define Measure Analyze Improve Control (DMAIC), includes complex data analysis, and addresses reducing defects per opportunity. The project must provide significant customer value and meet other stakeholder expectations. Learning should be supported through coaching from an instructor that is a Master Black Belt and an executive sponsor that is a Six Sigma Champion.

The list of concepts, terms, and tools includes:

  • Activity network diagram
  • Ambiguity
  • Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
  • Bias
  • Binomial
  • Capability analysis
  • Central limit theorem
  • Chi square
  • Confidence intervals
  • Continuous variables
  • Correlation coefficient
  • Correlation vs. causation
  • Dependent variables
  • Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)
  • Design of experiments
  • Discrete variables
  • Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA)
    • Design FMEA
    • Process FMEA
  • Group think
  • House of Quality
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Identify Design Optimize Verify (IDOV)
  • Independent variables
  • Interrelationship diagram
  • Interval
  • Kano method
  • Linear regression
  • Matrix analysis
  • Matrix diagram
  • Minitab
  • Multi-vari analysis
  • Multi-vari planning
  • Multi-voting
  • Net present value
  • Nominal
  • Nominal group technique
  • Normal probability plots
  • Opinions vs. facts
  • Ordinal
  • Poisson
  • Prioritization matrices
  • Process capability indices
  • Process decision program chart
  • Project reviews
  • Quality function deployment
  • Random sampling
  • Return on investment
  • Rolled throughput yield
  • Sample size selection
  • Sampling methods
  • Statistical analysis roadmap
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Stratified sampling
  • Test for mean
  • Toll gate reviews
  • Trends in six sigma
  • Vagueness
  • Variation trees
6 Sigma Black Belt

.

6 Sigma Black Belt

.

6 Sigma Black Belt

.

6 Sigma Black Belt

.

Master Black Belt

Great news for the Master Black Belt – there are just a few additional requirements. However, these require skills such as leadership, coaching, and teaching.

The additional requirements include:

  • Manage the six sigma program for an organization, business unit, local site, or whatever
  • Ensure that six sigma projects are selected, scoped, and executed appropriately
  • Conduct training for Black Belts and coach them through their projects
  • Be the reservoir of knowledge for complex problem solving tools that are seldom used, but are very effective in the right situation
6 Sigma Master Black Belt

Summary

6 Sigma Belts

I don’t expect to clear up the confusion in the worldwide market for six sigma training courses and certification exams. Most likely, I have made a number of experts turn red with anger. They are free to hold onto their own opinions.

My goal for readers is to provide a way to sort through the chaos and have a base for comparing six sigma training courses and certification exams.

If you have a concept, term, or tool that is missing from the lists above, send me a message.

Want More?

Read What is Six Sigma?

Stay Informed

Subscribe to Transformance Communiqué
Don’t miss future editions of the Transformance Communiqué, the newsletter designed for those serious about crafting sustainable organizations:
.
click here to create your own account.

LinkedIn

Follow Transformance Advisors
click here to follow us on LinkedIn.

Written by

Comments are closed.