Six Sigma–Master Black Belts, Black Belts, and Green Belts

In the tenth chapter of their book Six Sigma:  The Breakthrough Management Strategy Revolutionizing the World’s Top Corporations, by Mikel Harry, Ph.D., and Richard Schroeder, the authors get around to discussing in detail who the various players are in the implementation of the Breakthrough Strategy.   In the last post, we discussed the champions–the Senior Champion, the Deployment Champion, and the Project Champions.

This post covers the three levels of “belts” or expertise levels, within the Six Sigma implementation strategy.

1.  Master Black Belts

Master Black Belts assist the Champions in the identification of improvements projects, and they negotiate with Champions for resources for Six Sigma projects.  They then coach and train Black Belts and Green Belts to conduct those projects.

2.  Black Belts

Black Belts work under a Master Black Belt and they apply Six Sigma tools and knowledge to specific projects.   They are the “project managers” of Six Sigma projects.

3.  Green Belts

These are the team members of project team’s conducting Six Sigma projects, working under Black Belts.

The greatest quote I read from the authors describing the various levels of people involved in the implementation of Six Sigma Breakthrough Strategy is the following:   “Champions … decide what gets done, Master Black Belts and Black Belts work full time figuring out how to get it done.”   I can add to that quote the Green Belts, who get it done!


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