Comparing Certification Rates

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  William Howell 3 years, 7 months ago.

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    Someone asked me today how our companies BB certification rate compares to “world class”. I realize each organization typically has its own set of criteria to get certified which would significantly impact their certification rate. I also realize that perhaps this metric is not really the best way to measure effectiveness of the deployment. However, I would like to be able to have some type of discussion about it.

    I’ve heard numbers like 75% is considered a pretty good success rate when comparing the number of people who attend training to the number of people who get “certified”.

    Any thoughts / help would be appreciated!



    Norbert Feher

    I agree that 75% is a very high success rate in case of six sigma projects. We are struggling to achieve 60% at the moment.

    According to my opinion the following obstacles exist behind the failures:
    – Lack of management committment (poor or missing champion performance)
    – Shift of interests (candidate or management side)
    – “Boiling the ocean” type of projects
    – Not properly defined projects
    – Lack of mentoring experience (BB or MBB)


    Chris Seider

    @nfeher points out a great list of typical reasons for lack of failure. Notice the list didn’t include the lack of ability by the candidates–which is low on the pareto of reasons.

    The continuous improvement management that allows projects to progress without addressing the issues should examine itself and its project selection criteria. Training projects should have high scrutiny for business relevance, proper scoping, proper team sizing and mentoring resources.


    Shelby Jarvis

    All great points.

    An issue I see with the metric of penetration rate is linking it to the customer. I know many CI leaders who base their penetration rate (which leads to certification rate as a metric) by total number of employees, or some other internal facing driver.

    I have seen leaders put GB certification as a performance goal for employees without having a defined need. This leads to GB candidates searching for projects which may fix a pain point, but not necessarily linked to strategy or goals. Either way, it is easy for a leader to not support a project if it is not actually aligned in some manner.

    I propose a better approach is building the project pipeline and then allowing the project load drive the penetration goals. Your goal may be 100% of projects are resourced. My belief is with this mentality, it is easier to justify the BB mentors, the organizational resources, etc. to enable certification.

    I realize you asked for a good metric number. Hopefully these thoughts partnered with some of the other feedback may help you choose your metric wisely.



    All valid points above but one thing that we fight is that our program is more of a bottom-up approach. It’s not a GE “you will do this” but more of a “this is a way to improve processes.” So, it’s a culture thing at this point. Our success rate is 35%-40% at the moment and we are always open to new ideas to drive the number upwards (other than a top-down approach which is still probably 3-5 years away or longer.



    <img src=”C:\Users\P00046078\Pictures\ASQ certifications.jpg”

    ASQ certifications pass rates. (Hope the image shows up)



    Jasmine, I don’t see the picture…


    Andy Noble

    An unqualified 75% isn’t bad, but as with all things it depends on how you define the rules. If 75% certification is being achieved within 2 years of training start and you’re expecting a usual requirement of 2 DMAIC projects, some kaizen leadership and gb mentoring, then you’re doing great.

    The best way to have high certification rate is to have a strong engagement with leadership which means aligning to and delivering on what senior people want effectively. Then everyone gets on board and the whole thing flows.


    William Howell

    From my perspective there are two things very important to high certification rates.

    The first is that the individuals entering the program need to be interviewed, so that they know exactly what is ahead of them and commit to completing the program. This weeds out those individuals who are likely to stop short of completing their certification project(s).

    The second need is for strong mentoring. Weekly engagement between the mentor and GB/BB team leader is crucial. This keeps the team leader on task and the project moving forward.

    Hope this helps.


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