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Who Works on a Six Sigma Project?

The basis of any good Six Sigma project is its team. Likewise, within a team there are many different roles. These roles focus either on initiative or project leadership, typically divided into the following categories:

  1. Six Sigma Deployment Leader (DP)
  2. Six Sigma Champion
  3. Master Black Belt (MBB)
  4. Black Belt (BB)
  5. Green Belt (GB)
  6. Yellow Belt (YB)

This article will explain these roles, who is best to fill them, and why they are important to Six Sigma success.

 Six Sigma Deployment Leader 

The Deployment Leader is the figurehead for the team. DP roles are often taken on by the business leader themselves. Furthermore, the DP will typically hire the rest of the team. This also includes working with the MBB to organize, cultivate, and drive the project at all levels by meeting the following objectives:

  • Establish appropriate and reasonable business goals.
  • Motivate the team.
  • Maintain an active role in all activities related to the project.

The best DPs promote or continuous improvement, leverage the budget for further initiatives, and ultimately develop a fully capable Six Sigma company culture. Remember, the more time and interest you invest, the higher the chances of success for your project.

Six Sigma Champion

Champions are usually managers within the company, organizing and directing the business, function and/or value stream towards significant process improvement. They will interact with and utilize GBs to overcome obstacles, while working with BBs and MBBs to manage the development of the project.

The best Champions clearly demonstrate how the project benefits the organization, helping to meet business priorities. Most Champions will have a portfolio of prior projects.

Master Black Belt

Master Black Belts work with DPs to translate high-level company goals into Six Sigma strategies. Interacting with Champions to manage the project, they are also responsible for leading the development of Six Sigma in the business, while maintaining the division’s overall Six Sigma effort. In accordance with Six Sigma and Kaizen, the MBB promotes transparency, creativity and challenging of the status quo to aid development. MBBs often have prior mentoring and/or statistical experience, and can progress to Chief Quality Officer relatively quickly.

Black Belt 

Similarly to MBBs, Black Belts are relied on to create a transparent, honest environment with a key focus on factual data to inform group decisions. Working with those above and below them in the hierarchy, BBs will work tactically to ensure results are identified and process changes are honed and sustained by Champions and MBBs. The best BBs often come from careers in Business Analysis and Process Improvement, with prior Six Sigma experience on their résumé.

Green Belt 

Green Belts are responsible for supporting BBs in identifying and applying process changes. GBs also act as part-time Project Leaders, requiring them to scope projects, lead those below them, and liaise with BBs to ensure all project goals are executed properly. GBs are critical to the success of Six Sigma projects and will usually have some background experience in senior management.

Yellow Belt

Yellow Belts do not lead projects alone. Instead, they will act in a worker bee role. This mostly includes deferring to the GBs and BBs to aid the progression of the project. YBs are core team members and are often support those above them in the hierarchy. These tasks help to develop process maps, capture data, create simulations, and generate improvements.

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