Some Things I’ve Learned Being A Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Posted by on Nov 14, 2021 in Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Having been a Master Black Belt for almost 20 years and instructing hundreds of students has been very rewarding. I enjoy teaching people new tools and techniques that make their lives and jobs more manageable and the coaching required to make their projects successful and help improve their organizations. Watching people make their processes more efficient, eliminate waste and variation, and save money to boot is a great feeling!

I find that many people starting in Lean Six Sigma are hesitant due to their fear of statistics. This fear is normal but should not deter anyone from becoming a Yellow, Green, or Black Belt. Statistics are a friend that helps us summarize data, turn it into information, and allows us to make good decisions. Generally, Yellow Belts need minimal statistics and focus more on the essential tools of Lean Six Sigma. Green Belts learn more about probability distributions, hypothesis testing, and the fundamentals of the design of experiments. Black Belts focus on ANOVA, regression, and the design of experiments. As a Greem Belt, students generally receive all the fundamental tools of Lean Six Sigma. The difference between a Green Belt and Black Belt is the level of statistical analysis and the scope of projects they can handle.

Another critical element is that all Lean Six Sigma projects usually eliminate waste and reduce variation. Students must realize that waste results from the eight wastes, i.e., Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Overprocessing, Defects, and Safety or Utilization of Skills. They must have the ability to identify and eliminate the waste affecting their processes. Variation is the result of the Six Ms, i.e., Man, Machine, Material, Method, Measurement, and Mother Nature or the Environment. All processes, and all projects, must focus on reducing one or more of the eight waste and reducing variation in one or more of the Six Ms.

The last important element is the scope of the project. By nature, the size of Yellow Belt and Green Belt projects will be small and focus on eliminating one waste or reducing some variation caused by one of the Six Ms. Black Belt projects are more extensive in scope. They may involve multiple wastes or multiple sources of variation. The key is to scope your project appropriately and not allow scope creep to take over. The scope of all projects should allow the project completed within three months.

Those pursuing a Lean Six Sigma belt have an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and ways to analyze and improve processes. These skills carry over to every job and industry. In my opinion, they are one of the keys to anyone having a successful career.


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