What is Lean Six Sigma

As Lean Six Sigma is becoming yet another buzzword in the world of professional certifications, more and more project management professionals find themselves confused as to what Lean Six Sigma is. In this article, we will clarify what is Lean Six Sigma.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma is a project management methodology that aims to decrease the percentage of defects in the process output by removing what is called 'waste' – various aspects and components that mess up the process and bring down the results. By removing this waste, Lean Six Sigma method helps project managers achieve better results.

It can be applied either to manufacturing or any other industry that has products or services as their output. Lean Six Sigma professionals work in small but efficient teams to achieve expected results. Lean Six Sigma sets high targets in improving process output that require collecting data and analyzing data, and implementing changes to improve the processes to achieve visible and quantified results. This is achieved by identifying and measuring defects in a process, and then systematically eliminating them, which needs to improved outputs, increased customer satisfaction, reduced costs and increased profits.

Lean Sigma Six projects are carried out by Lean Six Sigma certified teams, where each team member has his/her role and tasks. These roles are Champion, Black Belt, Lean Black Belt etc – according to Lean Six Sigma certifications.

Lean Six Sigma Belts:

  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt: Leads problem-solving projects. Trains and coaches project teams.
  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt: Assists with data collection and analysis for Black Belt projects. Leads Green Belt projects or teams.
  • Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt: Trains and coaches Black Belts and Green Belts. Functions more at the Six Sigma program level by developing key metrics and the strategic direction. Acts as an organization's Six Sigma technologist and internal consultant.
  • Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt: Participates as a project team member. Reviews process improvements that support the project.
  • Lean Six Sigma White Belt: Can work on local problem-solving teams that support overall projects, but may not be part of a Six Sigma project team. Understands basic Six Sigma concepts from an awareness perspective.

Lean Six Sigma certification process may vary significantly between organizations as there is no sole certifying body responsible for Lean Six Sigma credentials and certification process. Most of Lean Six Sigma professionals get certified within their organizations, and the process is managed by their employers. Lean Six Sigma in-house certification process is also extremely convenient for candidates in a way that it ensures that the company will need their skills and expertise after they receive the credential.

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