Lean Six Sigma Belt Levels: Which Level is Needed?

‍Anotherreason for the effectiveness of Lean Six Sigma is the clear division of roles in the organisation. Clear roles and agreement on decision making and responsibility for areas at different stages of a project speed up improvement project turnaround times and reduce resistance. Lean Six Sigma uses the Belt levels familiar from judo to describe the different roles. Often the different Six Sigma Belt levels, especially the difference between Green Belt and Black Belt, are perceived as unclear when starting Lean Six Sigma. Below is an explanation of the six most common Lean Six Sigma Belt levels.

Lean Six Sigma Levels

The most common Lean Six Sigma Belt levels and when different Lean Six Sigma levels are needed:

1. Lean Six Sigma Green Belt:

A Lean Six Sigma Green Belt is a part-time Lean Six Sigma specialist who leads an improvement project, e.g. in their own specialist environment or who plays a role in a large Lean Six Sigma project led by a Black Belt. A Green Belt project leader is a good choice when improvement projects are mainly about clarifying and improving processes using various Lean tools and limited statistical methods. This Lean Six Sigma Belt level is a good choice when an organisation is about to start using Lean or Six Sigma and the first improvement projects have been selected or are being considered.

2. Lean Six Sigma Black Belt:

A Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is usually a full-time Lean Six Sigma project leader who leads complex Lean Six Sigma projects with a focus on optimizing value-adding process steps with sophisticated statistical tools. Often experienced Lean Six Sigma Green Belts train as Black Belts(Green Belt to Black Belt training) when their projects become more demanding and they need more Lean Six Sigma tools.

3. Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt:

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt is an experienced Lean Six Sigma expert who guides and trains all levels of the Lean Six Sigma Belt and guides the entire organization in successfully implementing Lean Six Sigma.

4. Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt:

A Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt is a Green Belt and Black Belt project team member or generally a person who has mastered the basics of Lean Six Sigma.

5. Lean Six Sigma Champion:

A Lean Six Sigma Champion is a member of the company's senior management and is responsible for the entire process chain in which improvements are made. The Lean Six Sigma Champion is the sponsor of Lean Six Sigma implementation and Lean Six Sigma projects.

6. Lean Six Sigma Process Owner:

The Lean Six Sigma Process Owner manages the organization or part of it where the improvement project is taking place and is responsible for the process and resources within the boundaries of the improvement project. The Process Owner does not actually have a Belt designation, but his or her Lean Six Sigma knowledge level is comparable to the Champion Belt level.

Each Lean Six Sigma Belt has its own specific role and tasks in the project and organisation. A Lean Six Sigma project usually has a Champion, Process Owner, Green Belt or Black Belt as project leader and experts with Green Belt or Yellow Belt level as project members. I recommend that all the different roles have their own Lean Six Sigma level tailored training and project guidance during the project.

If you would like to know more about the different Belt levels of Lean Six Sigma and how to train to the appropriate level, please contact us.

Lean Six Sigma,

Marja Jaatinen

Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

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