Tuesday, September 6, 2011

101 Things A Green Belt Should Know

Green belts are employees of an organization who have been trained on the Six Sigma improvement methodology and will lead a process improvement team as part of their full time job. While Green Belts don't need to know as much as Black Belts or Master Black Belts, there are many things a Green Belt should know. This list will help.

You caught me. There aren't 101 things a Six Sigma Green Belt should know listed below. But the beauty of the iSixSigma community is that everyone is always willing to share thoughts and experiences. Collectively, we can come up with 101 things. Let me know what you think:

  • What other "pearls of wisdom" should be sharing with potential Six Sigma Green Belts?
  • What requirements are there of Green Belts at your organization that you think should be ubiquitous within the profession?

Send your bulletized thoughts to me through iSixSigma at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I promise to review every response and if there is enough agreement, your idea will be added to the list. Let's make a list of 101 soon!

  1. Green Belts lead Six Sigma improvement projects part time. Usually 25-50% of their time is spent on Six Sigma projects.
  2. Six Sigma will become a "way of doing business" for Green Belts.
  3. Green Belts will be able to explain why the y=f(x) formula is important for their process and business.
  4. Becoming a Green Belt is an opportunity to gain valuable tools and experience.
  5. Green Belts who display prowess of Six Sigma methods and produce significant benefits are usually promoted within organizations.
  6. Unlike Black Belts who typically lead cross-functional projects, Six Sigma Green Belts usually work on projects within their own functional area.
  7. Green Belts receive less instruction on Six Sigma methods, tools and techniques than Black Belts. They usually receive between three and 10 days, whereas Black Belts receive upwards of 20 days.
  8. Six Sigma Green Belts are selected by the organization's management team.
  9. Six Sigma Green Belts will be able to explain the Kano diagram and how it relates to customers.
  10. Some organizations require all exempt employees to be "certified" Green Belts before promotion. Many require employees to at least undergo training.
  11. Green Belts can be trained in classroom sessions, completely online, or a combination of the two (hybrid).
  12. The Six Sigma Green Belt training curriculum varies from company to company.
  13. Green Belt performance is usually evaluated in the employee's regular performance appraisal, although some companies may provide additional incentives for completing a project or becoming certified.
  14. Six Sigma Green Belt certification requirements vary from company to company. Typical requirements include: completion of training, passing a written or online test, and completion of a Green Belt project.
  15. Certification as a Green Belt from one company most likely will not be recognized at another company.
  16. Some companies require Green Belts to complete one project per year to maintain certification requirements.
  17. Green Belts are usually instructed on the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology and a limited tool set, including basic statistics. More advanced statistics usually require support from a Black Belt coach.
  18. Six Sigma Green Belts should expect to schedule regularly occurring meetings with their Black Belt coach to review project progress and seek advice.
  19. Project tollgate reviews usually take place with the organization's management team. Whether you like it or not, at some point you'll either get kudos or a kick in the bottom for your project's progress.
  20. Green Belts will be able to create a histogram and pareto diagram, and know the difference between the two.
  21. Adding Green Belt training and a project adds to what must be accomplished in the work day, but remember: productivity and benefits you gain from your project will make your life much easier later. Would you rather put out fires everyday or start preventing fires from occurring?
  22. Not everyone on your Green Belt team is going to like the Six Sigma improvement process. Change is often difficult for people to embrace. Your leadership will play a critical role in shaping the team and the project's outcomes.
  23. Putting off your Six Sigma Green Belt project until tomorrow will leave you a lot of work to accomplish the day before your tollgate review. Just because your project needs resuscitation and is critical to you does not automatically make it a priority for your Black Belt. Plan ahead and stay in control of your project plan.
  24. Managing by data is always defensible. "Gut instinct" will not be valued in the business much longer. Green Belt projects help employees "see the light."
  25. If you haven't dealt with finances much in the past, your Green Belt project is an opportunity to learn basic equations, quantify project benefits, and speak the language of management.
  26. The Six Sigma Green Belt shouldn't necessarily know how to use every tool available. They should, however, know of the existence of tools and be able to ask Black Belts for help.
  27. Six Sigma Green Belts will lead the data collection process of their project and validate the measurement system.
  28. The Green Belt should expect to work on and improve their team facilitation skills.
  29. The Six Sigma Green Belt will be able to calculate the mean and standard deviation of their process data sets.
  30. The Six Sigma Green Belt will be able to calculate short term and long term Sigma value of their project's process.
  31. Green Belts are selected because they are business professionals, not Quality gurus or statistical geniuses.
  32. Green Belts will know how to perform basic statistical tests using a statistical software package like Minitab or JMP.
  33. Green Belts will be able to develop a charter and SIPOC for their project.
  34. Six Sigma Green Belts will understand how to create a Cause And Effect (Fishbone) diagram to identify possible causes of process defects.
  35. Green Belts will be able to lead brainstorming sessions with their project team.
  36. Green Belts can make their bosses and co-workers look good by using graphs to show process improvement in a highly visible and easily understood visual form.
  37. Green Belts can help win support for Six Sigma by preventing the defects that create so many headaches for their bosses and co-workers.
  38. Green Belts can help overcome resistance to change by involving their co-workers in the process and leading them to data-driven solutions.
  39. Green Belts should only start a project if there is top management sponsorship willing to commit necessary resources.
  40. Green Belts should have a solid communication plan that is reviewed at each meeting to ensure that the right information about the project goes up, down and out to all stakeholders.

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