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Teaming GBs on GB Certification Projects

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  • #50478

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    We don’t have enough Black Belts in our organization to mentor all of the Green Belts who have gone through training and who are doing projects to earn their Greeen Belt Certification.
    Has anyone tried teaming multiple Green Belt candidates on a single project?  That would reduce the burden on the Blacl Belts because they could mentor multiple Green Belt candidates at one time.  If you have tried doing this, did it work?  What kind of problems did you encounter?  Is it valid to award a Green Belt certificate if the Green Belt did not run the project by themselves?
    Of course, my biggest concern is that if they team up, some Green Belt candidates may just go along for the ride and let the others on the team do all the work.  I think we can deal with this, though, by having one Green Belt candidate assigned as the lead Green Belt and switch that person every week; hopefully, that would make it easy to identify the slackers.
    I’m thinking of teaming 3-4 Green Belts at most.
    I also welcome the opinion of anyone who has not tried this.
    Thank You!
    SixSigmaGuy

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    #173565

    Brandon
    Participant

    I think you’re missing the point SSG. It’s about solving problems and taking advantage of opportunties….not BB/GB ratios, what does or doesn’t qualify for certification or switching GB leaders. You’re hung up on some silly deployment logistics. Fix things!

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    #173571

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    Sorry, I don’t understand your answer at all.  I never said I was worried about ratios; I’m worried about certifying someone as a Green Belt and not having it recognized as valid when they move to another company.  I need Green Belts in my company to solve problems, but people won’t go through the training unless they consider their certificate to be universally valid.
    It’s not “silly deployment logistics” when I can’t get people to go through Green Belt training because we don’t have enough Black Belts to mentor them.

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    #173573

    Clive
    Participant

    First I’d be inetersted what you see as being a bad ratio. As a BB I’ve been able to mentor 15 ish GB’s at a time, depends on the size of their projects.
    I’ve seen projects which have been done jointly which can work but you have to manage them well and also make sure that actions are spread evenly.
    Another option is to have one large problem managed by a BB which can be split into smaller ones which can be taken by the GB’s. This makes it easier to mentor them and also stop GB’s having a ride on teh backs of others.
    In the end it’s about fixing problems but I’ve found certification one of the best carrots to get people to help in the fixing and once they’ve done it once a good proportion will want to do it again which is all you can ask.

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    #173576

    Torrance
    Participant

    Hi SSG – I tend to agree with Brandon. The fact that your employees dont really want to improve your processes is a bigger issue for you than the certification part.
    Are we saying none of the employees want to go on the training?
    Perhaps those guys are not the right people anyway (given they will be expected to lead positive changes to your business / processes) – They dont seem to have the required desire for learning / improving yet, or understand the need for change.
    My opinion would be to spend less time on those who refuse to do the training unless personal gain, and find employees who just want to learn and improve. Eventually, the others will have no choice but to get on board, or be left behind.
    Anyway – good luck on whatever you decide.
    Davy T

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    #173577

    EdG
    Participant

    SSG,
    I wouldn’t worry about “certifying someone within your company and it being recognized as valid or not by another company.”  Because…
    (1)  You are “in business” to improve YOUR OWN ORGANIZATION, not be a training ground for everyone else.
    (2)  If those that are selected for GB cert, are only interested in it if it is recognized by other companies (so that they can move on) then maybe you should reconsider your selectees.
    (3)  I know of a number of companies that look for individuals with the experience, but will still have a new hire go through their only training and certification process once inside the company.  “You were certified as a GB (or BB) with GE Engines, great!  But you will still go through our curriculum and re-certify with us now.”
    Also, we had multiply GBs work and certify on a project.  But we “broke the project into pieces” so that we had a multi-pronged approach; simultaneously attacked the problem from different issues with one lead (typically a BB) ensuring everything tied together and complimented each other (vice negating each others improvement).  Although each GB’s project was dependant upon each other, the BB kept them honest (no one along for the ride).
    Good luck…

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    #173590

    Dwight
    Participant

    SixSigmaGuy,
    The corporation for which I work deploys Green Belts in groups of two or three.  This does tend to lighten the Black Belt mentoring load.  Certification requires an individual Green Belt to lead one project and actively participate on another project.  Typically, the “strongest” Green Belt will lead the first project.  This allows the other Green Belt(s) to gain some experience before leading their own project(s).  In my experience, it would be cumbersome to have more than one Green Belt fill the role of project lead based upon a weekly or monthly time frame.   The certification requirement to actively participate in a second project should be non-negotiable.  The most important factor to successful completion of a Green Belt project is to make certain that the Green Belt is working on a project in his/her area of primary responsibility and make certain that the project is important to the process owner and other management. 

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    #173593

    GPaisley
    Participant

    SSG,
    Brandon is right on here.  It is my experience that if two or more people “share” responsibility–no matter how you try to manage it–in the end one person does disporportionately more work and the other(s) just ride along.  The only way to have people actually understand how to lead a project is to have them actually lead it.  If I “share” responsibility with someeone else, then I just avoid the parts I don’t like and let the other guy pick them up.  The only way for me to do the hard stuff is to actually be the only one to do it by owning the entire project myself.
    I have seen organizations (training consultants) who will certify two people on a project, but I am not convinced that they understand what they are doing–they’re getting paid to certify not to actually change a business……
    Perhaps rather than trying to manage the number of GBs per BB, you could look more closely at the GBs themselves.  We are at a point in my company where we are realizing that in our race to change the business we got way too loose with standards for letting GBs in to the program.  I’d rather have fewer–but better–GBs than more any day!  If you’re spending more than a couple hours mentoring time per GB per week (on average), you may be either doing too much work on your side and/or the GBs not doing enough on their side (or they may just be the wrong people).
    Just like we preach–take a close look at the metric you’re trying to move.  If it’s just numbers of certified belts, then you may as well hand out certifications at the front door every morning.  If you want deep, lasting change in the company, maybe a different metric is more appropriate, and then work to support that metric.
    Best,
    GP

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    #173595

    Eoin
    Participant

    For what its worth… I totally agree it needs to be an individual certification. Certification based on a group project is a cop out on behalf of the individuals being certified and the consultant.
    Best of luck, Eoin

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    #173638

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    Nice suggestions!  Thank you!
    I prefer a maximum ratio of 1 BB to 5 GBs.
    But my discussion is more about Certification than conducting projects.  Do you think it’s acceptable to award a GB certificate to someone if they only were a member of a GB team running a project, rather than running the project on their own.

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    #173639

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    I agree with Brandon too; but that’s not the topic of this discussion.  The discussion is whether it’s acceptable to award GB certificates to people who team up on a single project.  Do you have an opinion regarding the topic of this discussion?
    Once I know if it’s acceptable to do it or not, then I’ll worry about the other issues, e.g., motivation to do projects.  But, if it’s not acceptable then this issue is moot.
    Most of these issues brought up so far in this thread have been discussed endlessly with leadership people I work with.

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    #173640

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    Does anyone have an opinion regarding the topic of this discussion?  I’m trying to determine if it’s acceptable to team GBs on a project and award them certification.  I’m already dealing with all the other issues people are bringing up here.
    Please let me worry about certification if I want to.  That’s not the issue I’m asking for help on.

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    #173641

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    This was great feedback.  Thank you!!
    >>We are at a point in my company where we are realizing that in our race to change the business we got way too loose with standards for letting GBs in to the program.  I’d rather have fewer–but better–GBs than more any day! <<  We are at the same point.  I see too many companies in this situation and then the complain that Six Sigma didn't work and give it up.  I've found that the best way to "look more closely at the GBs themselves," is to put them through training. 
    We certainly are not trying to move the number of certificed belts metric; We focus on 3 primary metrics, Reduction in COPQ, reduction of scoped DPMO to near zero, and significant improvement in Customer Satisfaction, with COPQ being the one of most interest to our leadership.

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    #173643

    Vallee
    Participant

    Stated in numerous posts in different ways. GB Certification should be an indication of the ability to lead a project determined by the BB and company needs successfully. If the people did not have the opportunity to lead the project then it is not okay to group certify… I lived this type of world and it does not work. At the same time do not assign multiple low hanging fruit projects just to get enough individual projects for individual GB’s to lead. Train and select your GB’s based on company project needs. If you do not have enough BB’s to maintain this level of GB training then you have a bigger issue than attempting group training and certification.My humble opinion would be no do not group certify.

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    #173642

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    Thank you.  As the program director for our Six Sigma program, I agree with you, and always have.  But pressure from  leadership is causing me to solicit this discussion.  So far, I haven’t seen a single suggestion in favor of teaming people.  I was hoping I’d get that kind of feedback.
    I hope others who are awarding GB certificate for group projects will reconsider.

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    #173644

    Vallee
    Participant

    Teaming is okay for mentoring not certification. Both do have value and may speed the certification process up when the person has to lead a project,.

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    #173645

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    Thanks!  More great feedback!!
    >>Certification requires an individual Green Belt to lead one project and actively participate on another project.<<  Although it doesn't help my current problem, I love this idea.  I think it's especially useful for companies who don't offer Yellow Belt certificates. 

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    #173646

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    We are very much in sync!  Thanks!!

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    #173647

    annon
    Participant

    SSG,
    I wouldnt do it.  It sets a bad precedence for your organization, waters down the training experience for the GB, and could undermine the repuatation of your accredidations.
    Then again, if what you are talking about are large cross-functional projects (ie BB or MBB level) that justifies having multiple GB assigned, then obviously, there is nothing wrong with that approach.  
    Why not grant them recoginition for completing training while simultaneously working with your leadership to develop the infrastructure that will fill your project pipeline?  You know the drill here – Project Assessment and Selection,  HR involvement to include LSS elements in annual employee reviews, robust Champion Training, Leveraging Committees, etc.
    Good luck.

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    #173649

    EdG
    Participant

    Personal opinion; I would never recommend a team member for certification, ONLY the Lead. 
     
    No reason why you cannot have someone that was the lead on the previous project be a member or advisor on the next and then use a previous member is the lead.  We did that on previous projects; for my certification project I had five GB’s (in training) support me.  Then after I certified, I was used on their certification projects as a member / advisor.  It was helpful for them and it began preparing me for future BB projects.
     
    I like your 5:1 ratio for GBs to BBs.  I had seen between three to five on many of our BB projects, but that depended upon the complexity of the project and problem.
     Good luck…

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    #173657

    Brandon
    Participant

    Be careful here SSG. I believe nobody said “teaming people” is a poor idea. Teaming is great!
    Your question, as you have had to remind us a few times, is “Should a team member recieve certification?” Answer – probably not, since the certifier has no idea who did what nor if each team member truly knows how to conduct a project – which is what certification says they know how to do.
    So team for cert – no. Team for results – yes.

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    #173661

    Dwight
    Participant

    “I haven’t seen a single suggestion in favor of teaming people.”
    As I stated in my first post, I am a strong advocate of teaming Green Belts.  Early in our deployment, the team approach allowed us to train more Green Belts, gaining the necessary six sigma critical mass, without having process owners and management scrambling to find adequate projects for all of these individuals.  Too often, rapid deployment results in watered down, poorly scoped projects. 
    These teams of 2 or 3 Green Belts tackle one project at a time.  For certification, the individual Green Belt is required to lead a project and actively participate in the project(s) of their team member(s).  By actively participating in a project prior to leading a project, some Green Belts gain the experience needed before they can effectively lead their own project.  This team approach also gives Green Belts the support of having other six sigma-trained individuals on their project teams.  This ultimately alleviates some of the mentoring burden that is experienced by Black Belts.  I agree with other posters that no Green Belt should be certified if they have not led a project and demonstrated the ability to effectively employ the six sigma methodology.  We require the Green Belt project leads to present DMAIC phase reviews.  This ensures that they are, in fact, leading the project and understand six sigma tools and methodolgy.

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    #173668

    Ron
    Member

    Certification requires hands on use of the tools and skills needed to run project teams.
    Using teams to qualify  GB’s BB’s or MBB’s defeats the purpose of the trainig.
    If your goal is pump out certifications use it. If you want to train future leaders in continuous improvement don’t.
     
    Your Choice.

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    #173687

    Clive
    Participant

    “So far, I haven’t seen a single suggestion in favor of teaming people.”
    I thought mine did. I’ve seen it work very well on complex problems where one person would not have the time to complete it by themselves. Saying this I’m also used to working with people who are skilled in delivering projects so I’m not testing their project skills but there ability to find root causes, get the right solution in place and show results.
    You seem to be looking for agreement with your view not what people think.

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    #173688

    qualityseeker
    Participant

    Why have you trained so many Green Belts in the first place without having the resources to guide them?  What is the value of a trained “Green Belt” who cannot finish a project alone?  ZERO!!
    Key to success:  Only train a few and train/mentor them CORRECTLY.
    I am in a company with way too many “Green Belts” who know nothing more than the average property maintenance worker.
     

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    #173689

    green belt gal
    Participant

    Six Sigma Guy,
     
    When our company embraced the green/black belt program it was required that all top management gets their green belt certification first.  They worked in groups and as you guessed there were slackers.  For example, the engineers often did most the tasks, probably because they were more trained in the concepts taught in the certification process.  Only the engineers in our company were allowed to apply for the black belt program at that time also.  The second wave of certifications continued down through the chain of command and although I did my own project there were many that did still get permission to work in groups. By the third wave we were told everyone was required to work independently.  They did not share the reasoning behind this change.
     
    Speaking from a non-engineering back ground perspective I believe that anyone can work the process if they go through the training such as what our company used.  We used an on line university program which had students working the program and they had a support system which we could call to speak to a real person. We too had little to no black belt support so I used it during my certification project for support, it worked great for me. For this reason I don’t believe the black belt support is critical for others to complete a green belt progect and get certification.
     
    Green Belt Gal   
     

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    #173714

    Just Wondering
    Participant

    Six Sigma Guy,
    We use teaming, where several Green Belts are on the same project.  To minimize the “tag alongs”, each GB is required to lead a number of tools throughout the process.  Before they are eligible to test, they have to demonstrate detailed knowledge of those tools.
    This format proved to work well for us during training.  In the exercises, the trainees broke in to their teams and all exercise work was productive “team” work.  At the end of training, all teams were in Analyze and real improvements followed shortly after that.
    Hope this helps. 

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    #173717

    green belt gal
    Participant

    Qualityseeker,
    In large corporations it’s sometimes more about numbers than anything else. They set a goal and they intended for us to reach it. Personally I went to our “master” black belt at one point for assistance during my training sessions and he told me that he was busy; never got back to me.  Welcome to corporate america.  Sad as it is. So I agree, why train so many with no support.
    However, I don’t agree that if a green belt can’t finish a project alone they’re worth ZERO, as you put it.
    For some companies such as ours, with the cut backs we’ve seen the last couple years in personnel, I think groups is the best way to go even if every green belt is not an expert. And even if they can only participate in group events to move the company more towards lean manufacturing or save $$ is some way. Education is never a loss even if we all don’t become experts.  Let’s face it, we’re all spread thin these days as we aren’t just green or black belts, this was added on top of our job responsibilities.  There’s one individual in our organization that was made a black belt and he works min.10hr days plus saturdays managing an entire factory shop and is expected to participate in projects outside his area as well.  At this company we don’t just do projects so some training in the concepts is better than zero, that’s what teams are for.
    And please don’t discount the “average property maintenance worker”, there’s a science to everthing. 
    Sincerely, Green Belt Gal

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    #173776

    SixSigmaGuy
    Participant

    >>”I haven’t seen a single suggestion in favor of teaming people.”  As I stated in my first post, I am a strong advocate of teaming Green Belts.<<
    You are correct.  I was reading through the messages by threads, and not in chronological order.  I hadn’t gotten to your message yet when I made that statement, even though you sent it a day before.  Thanks for your input.

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