What Do Six Sigma Belts Mean?

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What Do Six Sigma Belts Mean?

This lesson covers the various belts and their concepts in Six Sigma. The Coaches of the project are all the belts except for white and yellow.  Six Sigma coaches conduct projects and implement improvements and are the overall resource for the company or business. Black belt coaches in Six Sigma lead projects and train teams. A Master Black Belt is able to coach and train the black and green belts, support the overall program level by developing metrics and the strategic direction with key leaders and function as internal resources. Green belt coaches assist with data collection and analysis. Non-coaches in Six Sigma are yellow and white belts. Yellow belts are project team members who review process improvements that support the overall project. White belts have a basic Six Sigma awareness and prospective and may support teams that support overall projects but are not typically part of a project team.

Black belt certification equates to the project level and to obtain a black belt, one is required to do at least two projects and mentor 5 Green Belt projects to closure. The black belt is a leadership development program and requirements 50% leadership skills and 50% Six Sigma skills. It takes about 18-24 months to run a project to achieve this level.

A Master Black Belt in Six Sigma is at the program level and is in a customer-facing role. Master Black Belts (MBB) help customers build quality road maps and later help with their execution. They work at an organizations strategy level in a leadership role to other black belts (BB) and mentor green belts (GB).  The role of Master Black Belt is 80% leadership and 20% Six Sigma skills.

A Green Belt in Six Sigma is at the managerial level. The train for 3-4 days and have an in-depth knowledge of DMAIC. They support cross functional projects collecting metrics and data. White and yellow belts participate in a one-day training program and have very basic Six Sigma training. They have a high level of DMAIC methodology. The belts and their roles are important because a hierarchy is necessary. Having these belts with specific roles attached to them provides integrated coaching and expertise capabilities to the program or project and creates roles and responsibilities (ITIL-like). In addition, it helps create better project/program managers using Six Sigma best practices, reduces uncertainty and improves customer satisfaction which leads to increased profits.

The “Belts’’ of Six Sigma provide internal and external integrated programmatic expertise to a project and act as an organic coaching group and allow for more structure, roles and responsibilities, which is the best practice.

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