SATURDAY, AUGUST 23, 2014
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Six Sigma Tools & Templates Pugh Matrix Guidelines and Matrices for Picking Six Sigma Candidates

Guidelines and Matrices for Picking Six Sigma Candidates

Green Belt and Black Belt candidate selection is a critical step in ensuring that a Six Sigma program provides the benefits intended. Overlooking the importance of this step can lead to slow progress and incomplete results.

Finding Green Belt candidates with the right traits is a proven method for kick-starting a Six Sigma program. This approach to candidate selection also is useful when filtering through a list of candidates who express an interest in moving from a Green Belt role to the role of Black Belt. Using a qualitative rating matrix provides a systematic process for selecting either level of Belt candidates. The process can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of the organization’s Six Sigma initiative.

Green Belt Candidate Traits

The Green Belt role requires candidates to demonstrate a skill set that includes starting and completing projects and using a data-based approach to solving practical problems. A list of these skills is outlined below:

1. Interest in Six Sigma – Interest in process improvement initiatives is critical. Voluntary participation in the program and demonstration of quality consciousness in previous work experience are indicators for this criterion.

2. Passion – Excitement about being part of the Six Sigma culture change is essential. Passion brings the required dedication level.

3. Process orientation – A focus on the complete process instead of viewing things in isolation is important. Green Belts must visualize how different parameters and resources interact with each other to give a desired output.

4. Process knowledge – Knowledge of the organization impacted by the project is especially important. Green Belt projects typically focus on localized improvements. Without sufficient knowledge about the organization, the Green Belt will find it difficult to complete the project as well as gain acceptance from those who are involved in the process day to day.

5. Ability to spend required time – The time Green Belts are required to spend on a Six Sigma project is typically anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent of their total hours. If a Green Belt is responsible for service support, a key processing function or another critical project, the Six Sigma training and project quickly become lower priorities. Selected candidates are expected to do justice to the Six Sigma activities.

6. Zeal to learn – During Six Sigma training, the Green Belt is taught many new tools and techniques. To gain confidence in using the methodology and tools, the Green Belt is required to practice the tools not only during training but also beyond training hours with live examples.

7. Inclination toward data analysis – Six Sigma is a data-based methodology using statistical calculations and techniques. Candidates are not required to have formal education in mathematics or statistics but an interest in mathematical analysis is desirable.

8. Customer orientation – Six Sigma is all about consistently meeting customer expectations. A Green Belt with little or no customer experience is less likely to appreciate this aspect of Six Sigma.

Traits for Black Belt Candidates

The Black Belt role is leadership focused. Hence, the desired qualities in a Black Belt are different from those of a Green Belt. Middle managers are typically best suited for the role. In addition to the Green Belt criteria listed above, the Black Belt should possess the following characteristics:

1. Technical aptitude – A high level of technical skill in applying the Six Sigma methodology within the organization is a key factor. Six Sigma skills are taught during the Black Belt training course and an evaluation of the candidate’s skill during this time will provide an indicator of future Black Belt success.

2. Ability to influence – A Black Belt leads project teams, and in that role must direct team members, communicate effectively to multiple levels of management and assist the organization in implementing change.

3. Business acumen – In the leadership role, the Black Belt should understand the current market environment of the organization, map the business-level challenges to the day-to-day working of individual functional areas and drive the program accordingly.

4. Problem-solving approach – Candidates demonstrating cause-and-effect thinking and data-driven analysis in previous assignments are equipped in part for success as Black Belts.

5. Ability to train/mentor – One of the most important functions of a Black Belt is to coach Green Belts during their project execution and to provide expert help so that possible roadblocks are proactively removed. Many Six Sigma deployments also require Black Belts to conduct Green Belt and Six Sigma awareness training.

6. Functional competencies – A Black Belt must understand how different functions work together and influence the organization. Black Belt projects are usually large in scope and commonly involve multiple functions such as finance, sales, marketing, human resources and IT.

Using a Pugh Matrix to Identify Candidates

The Pugh matrix is a tool used to facilitate a disciplined, team-based process for concept selection. Several concepts are evaluated, comparing their strengths and weaknesses against each other, to arrive at an optimum solution. The Pugh matrix encourages comparison of several different concepts against different criterion and is a useful tool because it does not require a great amount of quantitative data on the concepts. The matrix process also is applicable in the identification of Six Sigma candidates, providing a systematic method to evaluate and select Green Belts and Black Belts.

The following steps describe the process to construct a Pugh matrix:

1. Establish the selection criteria – The candidate selection team members create individual lists of selection criteria including critical-to-quality elements. The team should not become bogged down in refining the criteria. If information is needed, note it and resolve the uncertainty before the team meets again. The criteria for selection are based on prerequisites and the expected roles of the Green Belt and Black Belt.

2. Set up the matrix – Create the matrix on a flip chart with selection criteria entered in the rows and candidate designators entered as the column headings. This is a good opportunity to reaffirm the selection team’s common understanding and commitment to the established criteria.

3. Compare the concepts – In each cell of the matrix, enter the appropriate rating “S,” “+” or “-” for each candidate-criterion intersection. S indicates an average rating whereas + and – indicate above and below averages.

4. Evaluate the ratings – Create a weighting method according to the individual organization’s need versus the criteria selected for consideration. Choose candidates based on the weighted positive and same ratings.

Below, Table 1 shows a Pugh matrix for selecting Green Belt candidates and Table 2 shows a Pugh matrix for selecting Black Belt candidates.

Table 1: Pugh Matrix for Green Belt Selection

Selection Criteria

Importance

GB1

GB2

GB3

GB4

GB5

GB6

GB7

GB8

GB9

Interest in Six Sigma

5

Passion

3

Process orientation

3

Process knowledge

4

Ability to spend required time

5

Zeal to learn

4

Inclination toward data analysis

4

Customer orientation

4

Weighted Sum of Positives (+)
Weighted Sum of Sames (S)
Weighted Sum of Negatives (-)
+ = Good S = OK, at Par - Not Satisfactory
Table 2: Pugh Matrix for Black Belt Selection

Selection Criteria

Importance

BB1

BB2

BB3

BB4

BB5

BB6

BB7

BB8

BB9

Interest in Six Sigma

5

Passion

5

Technical aptitude

4

Ability to influence

4

Business acumen

4

Zeal to learn

5

Problem-solving approach

5

Ability to train/mentor

4

Functional competencies

4

Deep process/organization knowledge

4

Customer orientation

5

Weighted Sum of Positives (+)
Weighted Sum of Sames (S)
Weighted Sum of Negatives (-)
+ = Good S = OK, at Par - = Not Satisfactory

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