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Topic Starting Green Belt/CI Journey

Starting Green Belt/CI Journey

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Mike Carnell 1 week, 6 days ago.

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    Hi everyone!

    I’ve recently been moved to a CI position in my workplace (FMCG) due to my process knowledge and experience with the equipment throughout the whole site.

    I am looking to work now on completing the Six Sigma green belt and finding it quite daunting to decide where to start. I have bought a few books and I’m applying DMAIC to any current projects I’m working on to try and help get my head around things, has anyone here self studied for the test and if so what were your main focus points and path to passing the exam? What resources did you use, websites/videos/books etc?

    There are no Six Sigma certified people in the business so I would be the first so dont really have a mentor or people to collaborate or teach me (thankfully I found this forum from Mike Carnell’s AMA on reddit) so hoping for any and all advice on starting a Six Sigma journey!

    Graeme W


    Welcome Graeme,

    You may have found the right place to help you but my contemporaries on here will let you know “we don’t do homework” but we are happy to help if you come up with your own work so we can act as a “critical friend”.

    The guys will all have ideas where to look and can recommend books and videos themselves. I often use Matt Hansen’s “Stat Stuff.com” site to help me remember details and I have copies of the various Memory Jogger pocket guides as well. What few books do you own and how do you expect to structure a Lean Six Sigma Project?

    Mike Carnell usually has some good opinions so hopefully he will chip in with some advice on problem solving and the like but for now, can you let us know what problem it is you are working on and suggest how you might proceed to address it?


    Most books and materials assume that you know the basics you learn to earn a business or engineering degree. I can recommend Warren Brussee’s “Statistics for Six Sigma Made Easy”.


    @graemewal7777 Graeme There are 2 separate tasks. One is passing the GB cert exam and second is being able to fix things.

    If you need material to study for a certification test I think the material from Quality Council of Indiana is good. About half of getting prepared to take the test is being able to figure out what the question is asking. These books will help you get through that conundrum. https://www.qualitycouncil.com/cssgb/

    If you want to fix things most books are not going to help. Contrary to popular opinion the Six Sigma Methodology is not this exclusive set of tools. It is a thought process that is basically a derivation of the scientific process.

    In todays world it has become tools rather than thinking, so it is to your benefit there is no other MBB/BB/GB with their preconceived notions to tell you what you did was wrong. When we began teaching this outside Motorola we had to throw in tools to demonstrate the thought process. Those tools are now carved in the top of some building somewhere and MBB’s use those carved words to scold newcomers and force them into the mold so they do exactly the same things that other BB’s do so nobody will discover that their MBB doesn’t really have any depth beyond blindly executing tools and hoping that something is better at the end of the program. Trust me on this. There is no statistical jail. Do stuff. try things. You will amaze yourself at how much knowledge is contained in mistakes.

    There is a guy that plays guitar pretty well named Keith Richards. Somebody asked him about guitar lessons. He responded with “I do not believe in having lessons. You will only learn how some old geezer in their thirties wants you to play.” Continuous Improvement is worse. We have statisticians that love to pontificate and urinate all over peoples work like a drunken alley cat. But every now and then you meet a Robert Butler (@rbutler) who will do everything in his power to help or Jennifer Atlas at Minitab is the same way and there is a bunch of people over at Moresteam. There are couple who are not statisticians like @cseider, @Straydog & @andy-parr who aren’t (I don’t think) statisticians but they seem to be pretty smart guys. If you try they will help.

    For books this is a general guideline if it has a title like Six Sigma the Immaculate Reception (for Pittsburg not Oakland fans) run. If the author of the book meets you and he sobs uncontrollably as he thinks about his trillion dollar project run. These are snake oil sales people. There is no book that is the light and the way. Not even mine.

    Go online and google the Six Sigma BOK. Then you can get all the information you need on tools and techniques. Right here on this site or just on the internet you can get all the information you need about tools and techniques. There are a bunch of Kumbaya techniques that are about classifying peoples opinions. Good if you want people to feel good or if you like the word “delight” but if it comes to fixing things they are marginal at best.

    If you get stuck log on here and ask for help. You will figure out who you can trust pretty quickly. If you don’t want to ask for help in public you can email me at mike.carnell@csintlinc.com and if I don’t have a clue I will put you in touch with someone who does.

    This is just my opinion but if you take time and get Define and Measure right then Analyze, Improve and Control are a piece of cake. Remember the output of some analysis you do should make it obvious what the next step should be.

    We created this whole thing in the 1980’s without books or the internet. Everybody is here to help. Good luck.



    Well said, Mike. I suggested Brussee’s book because you won’t get through a certification exam or understand many of the tools without knowing statistics. But problem solving is often more about insight and thinking outside the box than doing the math. The most important thing we learn on this journey is how to recognize waste and track down its root causes. Much of the rest is just proving that you were right and that your proposed improvement is actually an improvement.


    Mike Darrish
    Reputation - 21
    Rank - Aluminum

    There is no single green belt test because there is no official or de facto Six Sigma governing body. So, you can read a book, but it may not cover any specific test. You need to
    pay for training somewhere, pass that organization’s test and participate in a project or two, then have your instructor sign your certification. You are then Green Belt certified. Else you study, maybe work a project and are Green Belt trained.


    As @mike@darrish.net said we don’t have a governing body for certification. I’ve met people who claimed to be black belts, had no certification, but knew their stuff. I’ve met others who were certified by some organization but were nearly clueless. Wise employers don’t care about certification unless it’s from a highly respected certifying body such as ASQ. Really wise employers care even more about track record and how well you do in interview. Have you tracked down wasteful problems and successfully implemented improvements? That’s what really matters.


    @mike@Darish.net No central body doesn’t mean a thing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Zero. AMA buys off on doctors and they are not all the same. Lawyers take a bar exam and they aren’t all the same. Not only that but just because you pass the bar in one spot doesn’t mean you can practice law anywhere you choose. I know a person who got on line one day passed 4 online certifications for BB and 1 for MBB. 1 day. It depends on the test. You are going to have to get someone to certify you just to get past an HR person so that creates value. There is also a certain level of self satisfaction/accomplishment. If it is from Acme Certifications run by Wile E Coyote then you aren’t even fooling yourself let alone anyone else. If you take a test make it worth something.

    Being certified and fixing processes are two distinctly different things. That has nothing to do with the certification test. A persons ability to fix a process is a function of a lot of different skill sets that maybe can be tested but not easily. Being able to do statistics isn’t really one of those critical skill sets. The software available today does a lot of that work and it should. There is absolutely no reason to open your project up to miscalculations because someone felt it was more honorable to use a 4 function calculator (I will hear about that comment).

    Here is a clue. If someone walks into your facility and they say “I have never worked FMCG before do you have a case study I can see?” That is someone who doesn’t trust the DMAIC methodology and/or doesn’t have a basic understanding of what tools yield what result. Case studies put you in the proverbial box everyone wants you to think outside of.


    @graemewal7777 If you build a reputation for fixing problems this whole thing goes away. It is like @Straydog said it is about getting results. Do not let people make this more complicated than it is. As he said there are some completely clueless people out there who are certified so you know it can’t be to difficult. That whole concept of get some quick wins? Nobody has built a reputation outside of their own mind fixing things that are quick and easy. You ask for whatever issue they think cannot be fixed and have enough confidence in yourself that you have the common sense and the knowledge to fix it. Do that a couple times and you will never have to look for a job. The jobs will look for you.

    Just my opinion.

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