Green Belt Dropout Rate?

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    Gary P. Cox

    I have been supporting a client who has asked the question, “What is the expected rate of those who start LSS GB training but do not become certified as a LSS GB?” (The dropout or non-completion rate.)

    I have responded with the safe LSS answer “That depends”… depends on the candidate selection process (personal commitment and technical ability are two key factors), the project selection process (needs to be scoped correctly and linked to business priorities), the robustness of actual training program (needs to be well facilitated and cover the right tools and their application), and the level of support the GB gets (strong Sponsor and Champion support and access to a good BB/MBB coach).

    That said, I am aware that not everyone who starts LSS GB training gets certified.

    Anyone have a thought on how I can provide an expected industry standard the percentage of those who start GB training but never get certified?




    We get that question a lot. Our answer is along the same as yours with a few caveats. Sometimes we are more concerned with exposure than with certification/projects. Meaning if my target audience is “leadership” I am less concerned about certification and more concerned about “understanding and their roles” in LSS.


    Chris Seider

    Let’s remember the adult learning model. If someone doesn’t practice what they are taught, they won’t begin to master or actually learn the tools.

    If a manager can’t complete a project that takes up to 10% of his/her time and has a real team to help divvy out the tasks, maybe it’s a problem with scoping or commitment to process improvement.

    If someone hasn’t done a capability analysis (not just running the software but planning and executing one), then one can’t appreciate why someone they are managing says “but I need 20+ samples for each head to appreciate how we’re doing”.



    It seems like this measure is not correct because of lack of actionability. What’s the plan if dropout higher 50%? It could require management or organization decisions. What about 40%? I suppose efficient Six Sigma programs must ensure minimal dropout (human factor correction only).


    Interesting! At a previous employer, they made a woman work on a GB project for two years after the class was over. By the time the MBB finally gave her the GB certificate, the woman hated Six Sigma, the MBB and the whole process!

    Makes me wonder what the dropout rate for SSBBs is…


    Susan McDermott

    At a previous employer of mine, the GB certification rate was a paltry 14%. We determined the cause was high interest in training by managers and candidates combined with low interest in projects. There was too much pressure to commit to a project when the GB’s time could be spent on revenue-generating activities. Managers didn’t complete GB projects because they felt the GBs should be the next layer down in the organization. People who participated in GB projects and kaizens were very excited by the activity and the results, but there was no ability to turn that into a commitment. Most GBs who certified didn’t complete more projects either. BBs, who were full time committed to continuous improvement, also struggled to work on projects, in part because their teams weren’t available to them. To me, this all comes down to leadership saying (or not) that Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma is the approach that the organization will use to solve business process problems (or even broader applicability than that).

    I think that some start up challenges will occur – poor selection of GB candidates and/or projects, difficulty applying the methodology, and the like – but that if the organization is committed to the approach, then the certification rate should be high.

    Good luck,


    Andy Noble

    I’m seeing 1/3rds. 1/3rd complete projects and certify on time, 1/3rd take more that 6 months and the rest drop out. Though many who drop out have actually done at least part and sometimes all of a useful project, but fail to write it up.
    I feel we’re doing OK with this. There is a well defined support network which selects the right projects and lots of regular scheduled coaching as well as formal gate reviews. Having a well established network of BBs and a management team who understand and support is a key enabler.


    Norbert Feher

    In case of my Green Belt candidates the proportion of not certified candidates vary between 10% and 40 % depending on the support They receive from Their superiors and the definition of their projecs.

    Dropout rate in case of not properly defined projects (define gate review not passed) is 50%
    Dropout rate of projects after measure gate review (with pass result) is <5%

    So the most critical elements are:
    – Well defined project charter
    – Continuous feedback and support from mentor and superior.

    Final key element: if mgmt doesn’t know when and how to apply six sigma DMAIC method than failure is very likely to occur…

    Hope this helps…

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