We’re sometimes asked – what sort of things should a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt know how to do – it’s a great questions, because there is A LOT of variation in the training available out there.

Not all Lean Six Sigma Green Belt courses were created equal.

During any training or learning, you’ll be taught things that you may not use frequently or aren’t relevant. For example, you might have learnt and subsequently forgot some of the key thinkers names and background – I mean, it is important to your ability as a Green Belt to know all about the background of Taiichi Ohno or William Edwards Deming?

Or perhaps you learnt about a Pugh Matrix but never used it so now you’ve forgotten how to use one? Does the fact you’ve forgotten how to use this technique make you a less valuable or experienced Lean Six Sigma Green Belt?

We think not.

However, here are is minimum list of skills we think that a good Lean Six Sigma Green Belt should have – here they are in no particular order of importance:

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# Skill Ability
1 DMAIC It’s a great process for managing an improvement. Understanding what’s required for each stage is essential knowledge
2 Problem Statements Not understanding the problem is where many improvement projects fall over. All Green Belts should be able to write a great problem statement
3 Voice of the Customer You should know what this is and understand at least one way to collect it
4 Critical to Quality CTQ’s are essential for translating customer feedback into usuable and useful critical quality needs
5 Cost of Poor Quality Being able to recognise poor quality and calculate the cost/impact of this is very important
6 8 Wastes Can’t imagine meeting a good Green Belt who couldn’t recite these forwards, backwards and sideways – along with relevant examples of each!
7 Value Stream Mapping & Process Mapping Process maps are terrific for visualising a process – not all projects require these, but many do and you should know how to create them
8 Key Metrics Metrics and measurements is a huge category of learning and one you expand on greatly as a Black Belt, but at the Green Belt level, you should have a good understanding of key metrics and their meanings and uses
9 Basic Charts & Analysis Control Chart, Pareto, Histograms, Scatter Plots are all required knowledge
10 Failure Demand Understand what this means and how to identify it and analyse it
11 Standard Deviation About as complex as we’d expect at this level, but understanding what this is and how to use it to create control limits is important
12 Flow Basic principles of flow, including understanding the positive and negative of batching vs single piece flow
13 Value Adding Analyses All Lean Six sigma Green Belts should be able to articulate this concept, including the ability to be able to identify Non Value Added activity in a process
14 Root Cause Analysis Cause and Effect diagram and/or 5 Whys are the minimum requirement here – this is to make sure they can get to the root cause of a problem and not just treat symptoms.
15 Error Proofing Understand the concept of error proofing with practical examples of it in use
16 5S Understand the 5 terms associated with this tool along with their meanings and how to implement effectively in the workplace
17 Visual Management Visual Cards (Kanban), Signal Alerts (Andon) and Display Boards are one of the key techniques for making work visible
18 Control Plans All good change projects should have a control plan. Often missing, but should never be missing and all Lean Six Sigma Green Belts should know how to execute an effective control plan
19 Systems Thinking In this day and age, I think it’s important for a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt to be able to understand the concept of Systems Thinking and be able to identify where a system is responsible for creating waste and failure, rather than the issues with individual performance variation
20 Standard Operating Procedures A staple of controlling and standardising performance – all Lean Six Sigma Green Belts should be able to create a decent SOP

Our training uses active learning simulations (with Lego for extra awesomeness!) as well as group and individual exercises to embed the learning of all the above. We practice using these tools and techniques, so you’re not just left with the theory without a practical understanding of how to use it. We also ensure that you use as many of these tools and technique as appropriate when you complete your projects – further embedding the learning and practicing.

Is there anything you don’t need to know?

Yes – Japanese terms for all the above! Does a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt need to be able to recite (and spell!) all the Japanese terms? Well, if you’re Japanese, then probably. For everyone else, nope. I can never remember what the 5 original Japanese words are for 5S. But I can implement 5S in an organisation blindfolded. Well maybe not blindfolded. Wearing an eye-patch maybe. You get the idea.

In fact, we find the Japanese terms have a habit of making the work exclusive to people who know the terms – and that’s the last thing you want from improvement projects. You want to make the work inclusive not exclusive. So use the language of your people!

So what do you think of our list? Is there anything on there that you think is unnecessary for a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt to know and understand?

I’m aware that this is not an exhaustive list of all Lean Six Sigma Tools and Techniques – but are there any other ‘must haves’ missing from this list? Something you think is essential for a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt to know and understand?

Want to find out more about our courses?

  • Lean Six Sigma – Green Belt Practitioner

  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Practitioner – Public Classroom

  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (for Green Belts) – Public Classroom

  • Lean Six Sigma – Green Belt Practitioner Course – In House