Six Sigma Belts: Connections with Agile methods?


In a crisis scenario, reduced demand and increased competition, investing in innovation, and increased productivity are vital strategies for the success of organizations. And, in this context, the Six Sigma Certification is highlighted!

Lean Six Sigma has proven to be an important tool in conducting business, helping companies to become more efficient when seeking to reduce costs and optimize their processes.

Its main goal is to provide financial gains for companies through the improvement of existing processes. For this, a structured and quantitative method like DMAIC Method is used.

Six Sigma is a project management methodology that reduces defects, increases morale, ensures product quality, and increases profits.

In this article, you will learn what are the Six Sigma belts and their relation with Agile methodologies.

What is Six Sigma?

In case you are not familiar with this incredible continuous improvement methodology. Six Sigma is a management system, which is quantitative, structured, and disciplined.

This methodology works with three main goals, which are:

  • Cost reduction
  • Optimization of products and processes
  • Increased customer satisfaction.

As well as its application to increase performance in the organizational scenario, Six Sigma training also follows the rhythm of the DMAIC method. Through its 5 steps, students are enabled throughout the Six Sigma training to know and improve themselves in each of the most efficient statistical and quality tools.

Six Sigma is a Management Philosophy

It is related to the way to encourage all employees to improve processes and optimize results, creating a culture of continuous improvement.

It is a way to align strategic guidelines and translate them into indicators for monitoring and optimizing results.

Six Sigma is a Quality Benchmark

Six Sigma represents a level of accuracy that tolerates a maximum of 3.4 defects per million opportunities.

Thus, several companies use it as a comparative reference (benchmarking) to analyze and improve their internal processes.

Decide how you want to optimize your processes

You may be someone who believes that the best way to ensure quality is to ensure that processes are consistent across all categories with a few variations as possible. On the other hand, you might be someone who chooses an emphasis on efficiency or producing a quality product with as little waste and overhead as possible.

Six Sigma defines waste as a variation in business processes

If you are someone who believes in a consistent process, you will likely be more comfortable with this type of certification.

Lean Six Sigma is a combination of Lean methodology and Six Sigma methodology.

It defines waste as anything that does not add value to the final product. If you are looking for an emphasis on efficiency, then you would probably prefer the Lean Six Sigma certification.

What are the belts for Six Sigma training?

The Six Sigma methodology has a hierarchical chain, but unlike a conventional hierarchy, you don’t have to go through all the levels before reaching the top.

There are 5 levels within this philosophy of continuous improvement, and they are:

1) Six Sigma White Belt Certification

White Belt certification is the first step in Lean Six Sigma. Understand how the application of continuous improvement processes works in companies from solid concepts, tools, and practical examples.

2) Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification

Just like the White Belt, it operates at the operational level.

The difference of the professional with Yellow Belt certification is that he can be seen as the manager of the operational teams, that is, he has a little more knowledge about Six Sigma, coordinating the application of small projects within the organization.

3) Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

The first level that can develop Six Sigma projects within the organization.

Green Belt certification allows a broad knowledge of Six Sigma technical tools. This professional prepares projects that take 3 to 4 months to be completed, within an area of ​​the company.

4) Six Sigma Black Belt Certification

It is the apex of the Six Sigma methodology, about project development.

The Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification provides mastery of all the necessary tools to apply in large improvement projects within the organization. Black Belts projects last from 4 to 6 months and usually cover more than one area of ​​the company.

5) Six Sigma Master Black Belt Certification

The maximum level within Six Sigma. It has all the knowledge of a Black Belt, as well as a deeper understanding of statistical tools.

With the Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification, this professional operates at all levels of the organization, focusing more on the strategic part. Ie handles the company’s senior management and is responsible for implementing and managing the Six Sigma program throughout the organization.

How to go through all the levels to become a Master Black Belt?

Six Sigma training is built into each other. That is, if you do Yellow Belt training, you learn everything that White Belt training teaches plus the complement.

If you enroll in the Black Belt course, you will be getting from White to Green, plus the upgrade needed to become a Black Belt.

This is exactly why there is no mandatory sequence or restrictions between Six Sigma training and its certifications. Likewise, if you already have a Six Sigma certification, you can go to the next one without difficulty.

If you are already a Green Belt and want to become a Black Belt, just take the complimentary course, and you will receive your certificate attesting that you have the necessary knowledge to be a Black.

Steps to Six Sigma Certification

Locate the appropriate training program

All certifications start with training and Six Sigma is no exception. You’ll start your certification journey by finding the right training program.

Since classroom instruction is almost always necessary, start looking for training classes near you. A simple Google search may be necessary if you don’t have links to Six Sigma training.

Look for accredited programs

While there is no formal system of standards that defines Six Sigma, there are schools that have Masters to sign your degree.

Enroll in the training program

This is going to be just like college again. Prepare for rigorous study and plenty of class time, especially if you choose Black Belt or Master Black Belt certification.

Take the test

After completing the training, the next step is to complete a written test that proves you’ve learned what you need to know about Six Sigma.

You can expect a Black Belt exam to last about two hours, In addition, you can use a Green Belt exam to last about an hour, and a Yellow Belt exam to last about half an hour.

Your certification journey will involve completing one or two projects using the Six Sigma methodology.

Just make sure you put into practice what you’ve learned in the classroom and you should do it well. After completing the necessary training and courses, you will earn your belt.

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Leonardo Salles

Copywriter for GitScrum.