4 Basic Roles in Six Sigma

Understand the role and responsibilities in Six Sigma deployment in an organization. Basically there are four roles and they help in running a successful Six Sigma project with the help of a cross functional teams.

Companies have different terminologies and names for organizational roles that support Six Sigma improvement. But following are the key Six Sigma roles:

Level 1 – Green Belts : This term is taken from martial arts, Green Belts are individuals who have trained with basic Six Sigma skills and have mastered basic skills. Green Belts lead improvement projects(medium impact projects) under the supervision and guidance of a Black Belt.
Green Belts are usually not a full time role rather they are from different functions, domains etc. They are trained to support Black Belts in high impact projects and also lead medium impact projects.

Level 2 – Black Belt : The term Black Belt is borrowed from martial arts, where Black Belt is the expert who coaches and trains others as well as demonstrates mastery of the art. In the similar way, Six Sigma Black Belts are individuals who have studied and demonstrated skill in implementation of the practices and techniques of Six Sigma for cost reduction and profit improvement.

Six Sigma Black Belts are mostly full time process improvement positions and they mentor Green Belt and Black Belt candidates. They may also operate as internal consultants working with multiple teams. They may also be utilized as instructors for problem solving and Six Sigma trainings.

Level 3 – Master Black Belt : Master Black Belt is a full time role and they basically train and mentor Black Belts. This is a senior role and the other critical job is the review of projects and running of Quality Council within the organization. For Master Black Belt recognition, an individual must be an active Black Belt who continues to demonstrate skill through significant financial impact and customer benefits on projects.

The ability to teach and mentor is evaluated by reviewing the numbers and caliber of people they have developed.

Executive Sponsor : Executive leadership sets the direction and priorities for the organization. The Executive team is comprised of the leaders that will communicate, lead and direct the company’s overall objectives towards successful and profitable Six Sigma deployment. They typically receive training that includes a Six Sigma program overview, examples of successful deployment strategies and methods for definition, measurement, analysis, improvement and control.

Champions : Champions can also be the sponsor as they are upper level managers who control and allocate resources for process improvement and Six Sigma projects. Champions are trained in the core concepts of Six Sigma and deployment strategies. They lead the Six Sigma implementation and work with Black Belts to ensure that senior management is aware of the status of Six Sigma deployment. Champions ensure that resources are available for training and project completion. They are involved in all project reviews in their area of influence.