iSixSigma

Back with three questions

Please pardon me for ignoring iSixSigma for the last two months. Life took over, and I did not have time to blog. This is a short post consisting of three questions.

  1. Would anyone comment on the range of cycle times for DMAIC black belt and green belt projects?
  2. At your companies, is mastery of a set of tools necessary for a green belt to be certified?
  3. Does your company tie certification of green belts and black belts to a minimum number of projects with demonstrable hard dollar or soft dollar savings? If you know of survey data covering these questions, let me know.

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Comments 6

  1. Mike Carnell

    I can see tying certification to a number of completed projects but not dollar savings. First “savings” is a problem word to use – it drives a deployment to cost reductions and in many situations that makes no sense at all. So let’s assume you use Dollar benefits (ignoring of course that the dollar is not necessarily everyone’s currency).

    It still makes no sense. The project is worth whatever the project is worth and that is not within the control of the belt or at least should not be. Project selection lies somewhere other than with the belt or at least should. That means you are going to measure their performance against criteria they cannot affect. How well do you think that works?

    Good luck

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  2. Laylah

    The company where I worked and was certified had the following:

    Would anyone comment on the range of cycle times for DMAIC black belt and green belt projects?
    – We had no green belts.
    – Black Belt DMAIC cycle times were between 3 and 12 months, with most being 5

    At your companies, is mastery of a set of tools necessary for a green belt to be certified?
    – The GB program was underway when they decided to slaughter their deployment, but mastery of tools was *startlingly* not going to be a requirement.

    Does your company tie certification of green belts and black belts to a minimum number of projects with demonstrable hard dollar or soft dollar savings? If you know of survey data covering these questions, let me know.
    – Certification required two completed DMAIC projects with proven demonstration of master of tool sets. No dollar threshold was tied to the certification. Any hard or soft savings had to be demonstrable, but was not specified within limits.

    I echo the two comments previous. The BB has (generally) no role in selection of the project, nor the impact of the defects that occur so can’t control the impact of reducing the defects.

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  3. London MBB

    I understand the notion of a enefits threshold to be an indicator only of the scale of the project and therefore whether it is appropriate for a GB vs BB.

    The company I am currently working with is undertaking BQF GB certification and only a lower threshold of >£30k has been set.

    When I was a BB at GE, we had personal and Team targets for delivery of benefits. I see nothing wrong with setting expectations and thereby throwing down the gauntlet to your BBs to work with the Business to find the savings and also squeezing as much benefit out of their projects by managing them tightly and with discipline. The sooner a project is delvered (and delivered well), the sooner the benefit hits the bottom line and the resource is freed up to commence further projects. But then, being from GE, I find I’m made of sterner stuff! We called this ’stretch’ and took it in our strides, knowing non-delivery was not an option.

    In the outside world, Teams I have worked with who do not have such pressures, tend to drift; their projects take longer, often lose momentum, deliver less benefits. Meanwhile, the Business loses interest and wonders what all the fuss is about this supposedly excellent methodology…

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  4. London MBB

    Also, outside of GE there seems to be a lack of focus on understanding the Tools and correct contextual application. The philosophy was such that you didn’t need to know every element of every tool and every formula off the top of your head; we have a set of manuals for that. What’s more important is that you know when it’s appropriate to use those tools and formulae and then where to look them up!

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  5. Anand

    I strongly disagree with the concept of savings being associated with certifications. Certifications are an acknowledgement of the effort spent and appreciation of the skill he has developed/applied in executing Six Sigma project/s. Definitely knowledge of Six Sigma approach and its application should be a criterion for certification but savings – No Way.

    Also, many good customer oriented projects get dropped off as they are not able to generate the required savings for a certification and thereby company loses out on significant improvement which it could have made otherwise.

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  6. Charles McKinney

    Thanks for the comments. Having moved into a departmental leadership role with pressure to reduce departmental G&A, I am disappointed that our black belts do not place greater emphasis on practical solutions. However, I agree with the comments raised. Our infrastructure does not enable our belts to have a swift, visible impact on cost, customer satisfaction and competitive position. Deficiencies in our managerial accounting and an absence of process-excellence leadership holds them back.

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