iSixSigma Magazine is celebrating five years as a resource for Lean Six Sigma professionals. During those years, iSixSigma has produced a series of research reports on aspects of deploying Six Sigma. Here we’ve compiled benchmarking data on training.

From the inception of iSixSigma Magazine, a regular feature of the publication has been exclusive research on aspects of deploying Six Sigma. The topics benchmarked have ranged from “Black Belt Return on Investment” in the inaugural issue, January/February 2005, to “The Lean Six Sigma Toolset” in November/December 2009. In addition, the magazine reports each year on the global salary survey that iSixSigma conducts as an industry yardstick.

In the magazine’s fifth anniversary issue, we looked back at some of the research highlights by organizing findings into the following categories: projects, training and development, tools and methods, financial benefits, and culture change.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing this benchmarking data with readers. Part 1 highlighted project data. In Part 2 the focus is training and development data.

Training and Development

Naturally, preparing a company’s population to carry out a Six Sigma initiative is fundamental to the success of the deployment. The following findings relate to what training is important, how leaders should best be developed and Six Sigma certification.

  • A combination of classroom and online training is the preferred approach for learning Six Sigma. From: “Online Six Sigma Training,” September/October 2006
If you could choose, which of the following would you personally prefer for learning Six Sigma? (N = 1,115)
  • By a wide margin, the ability to communicate is considered the most important skill a Black Belt can have, followed by the ability to lead – both regarded as “soft skills.” Training in soft skills corresponds to a successful Six Sigma program. From: “The Hard Truth About Soft Skills,” January/February 2008
Please list the top three skills or characteristics that make a successful Black Belt.
(N = 939)
  • Six Sigma is a formal part of the leadership development process in companies rated as having a highly successful Six Sigma program. From: “Six Sigma and Leadership,” September/October 2005
Is Six Sigma a formal part of your company’s leadership development process?

Assessment of Six Sigma Program

Total Highly successful Somewhat successful Somewhat unsuccessful Highly unsuccessful
N 778 109 373 140 33
Yes 48% 85% 52% 20% 3%
No 52% 15% 48% 80% 97%
  • An important part of certification requirements is financial benefit. With no universal standard, however, the specifics vary. From: “Six Sigma Certification,” May/June 2008
Summary of certification requirements
Certification level N Mean 25th percentile Median 75th percentile Standard deviation
How many Six Sigma projects must be completed (as the project leader) for certification?*
Green Belt 869 1.4 1 1 2 0.7
Black Belt 913 2.1 2 2 2 0.9
Master Black Belt 593 3.2 2 4 4 1.1
What is the minimum amount of benefit the project must produce?**
Green Belt 597 $60,678 $25,000 $37,500 $75,000 $73,229
Black Belt 720 $181,563 $75,000 $150,000 $250,000 $154,181
Master Black Belt 485 $289,510 $150,000 $250,000 $525,000 $188,808
How many Six Sigma projects must the certification candidate mentor/coach to completion?**
Black Belt 674 3.3 1.5 1.5 4 2.4
Master Black Belt 625 6.6 4 8 8 3.3
How many days is the training course for each role listed below?
Green Belt 958 9.3 5 9 10 6.4
Black Belt 921 20.0 15 20 25 7.3
Master Black Belt 589 22.3 12 20 35.5 10.9
After training is completed, how much time (months) does a candidate have to complete remaining certification requirements?
Green Belt 648 6.8 3.5 5.5 11 4.8
Black Belt 676 10.1 5.5 11 14 5.6
Master Black Belt 393 11.2 5.5 11 17 5.7
What is the minimum amount of time (months) a Black Belt or Master Black Belt must serve in their role before they are eligible for certification?
Black Belt 574 12.3 9.5 9.5 15.5 7
Master Black Belt 435 17.8 9.5 15.5 21.5 9
*In calculating the average number of projects completed and the average number of projects mentored/coached, the midrange was used for answer choices with a range. For answer choice “4 or more,” the number 4 was used, and for answer choice “11 or more,” the number 11 was used.

**In calculating the average minimum financial benefit a project must produce, the midrange was used for answer choices with a range. For answer choice “Less than or equal to $25,000,” $25,000 was used, and for answer choice “greater than $500,000,” $525,000 was used.

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