The 23 competencies of the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt according to ISO 18404:2015
The ISO 18404:2015 standard establishes the skills and competencies expected for Lean Six Sigma project participants. This article is a brief summary of the main points that should be developed and evaluated during the continuous improvement program. I will start by treating him, who, in my view, plays a central role in any project: the Green Belt
The Green Belt is expected to deliver the agreed benefits of a Lean Six Sigma project to the organization. These improvement activities will often be within the Green Belt’s usual field of employment and operation. In so doing, the Green Belt will work with the local line management to identify and quantify opportunities for improvement within the local environment. Also work, possibly under the direction of a Black Belt or Master Black Belt or as a member of a larger Lean Six Sigma project. A Green Belt is also required to lead a smaller Lean Six Sigma project under the direction of a Black Belt, and possibly coach Yellow Belts on process improvement methods and activities.
For this, the Green Belt needs to develop skills at the level of understanding, application, management and multiplication. These competencies go far beyond just analytical tools as below.
1. Organizational benefits identification and prioritization.
Understands the importance of using quantified local organizational benefits or goals to guide project selection. Describes the appropriate identification of the organization’s opportunities, the benefits of removing concerns and the relationship to an organization’s local business goals and how project/problem selection relates to these goals. Demonstrates the identification of benefits on Green Belt projects.
2. Business process improvement.
Understands the use of Six Sigma to support organizational strategy. Describes when and where Six Sigma would be an appropriate approach for process improvement in the organization. Demonstrates the impact that Six Sigma has had on local organization.
3. Change management.
Understands the role of a Green Belt in change management and the importance of using a coherent approach to manage change. Describes interaction between stakeholders and the change process in the Green Belt’s project and the mutual impact of one on the other. Demonstrates participation in and communication of change.
4. Data acquisition for analysis.
Identifying and actively seeking appropriate information in various forms, ensuring the validity of such information and transforming into data which can be analysed in Competency 22. Describes the difference between qualitative and quantitative information and the benefits of quantifying performance. Describe where data might be found, how it is gathered and what analysis techniques might be used in the Green Belt’s project. Describe where or how validity might be compromised and what actions might be needed. Evidence of implementation of a plan to acquire appropriate data.
5. Leadership development in self.
Importance of developing leadership skills in self. Describes leadership development including the following, as appropriate: self-assessment, importance of coaching, importance of mentoring, personal development plans.
6 Leadership development in others.
Importance of leadership development in others. (See also Competency 20).
7. Creativity thinking.
Understands the need to apply creative thinking approaches to pursue project objectives. Describes the different thinking modes (e.g. creative and analytical). Evidence of use of this approach during a project.
8. Customer focus.
To understand how and why to listen to the ‘voice of the customer’ (VOC). Describes the different types of customers as applied to the Green Belt project. Demonstrates the application of ‘customer focus’ approaches. For example, through the correct use of a ‘house of quality’ and/or ‘critical to’ (CT) matrix.
9. Decision making and taking.
To recognize the importance of decision-taking and identify the decision-takers. Describes circumstances where decision-taking is required in a Green Belt project and the responsibility for these decisions.
10. Interpersonal and team leadership skills.
To support effective interaction with others including stake holders. To work effectively with others to achieve objectives. To know the factors affecting team effectiveness, including factors such as leadership style, team roles, personality types. Demonstrates the effective use of communication techniques in a Green Belt project.
11. Motivating others.
Understands why it is important to motivate individuals and teams to progress towards objectives. Knows possible motivations such as identifying individual drivers, creating a shared vision, shared goals, understanding appropriate incentives and consequences. Demonstrates that such approaches have been deployed.
To be proficient in the interpretation of numbers in the Green Belt project. Describes the necessity to have proficiency with numerical information to undertake a Green Belt project. Demonstrates a sense of the size of order of magnitude and the sound basis of these. To calculate accurately a range of calculations. To recognize when it is appropriate to use a computer, and be able to do so effectively. To demonstrate that calculated results are reasonable. To demonstrate interpolations and predictions from the data in projects, e.g. graphs, diagrams, charts and tables.
13. Practical problem solving (opportunity realization).
The ability to differentiate between different types of problems/ opportunities and choose appropriate approaches to address them. For example, acute/chronic or special cause/common cause. To understand how to apply root cause analysis techniques to identify causal factors for process improvement. To describe appropriate processes used to address different types of problems. Describes where this is appropriate. To demonstrate the appropriate use of DMAIC and other problem solving methods, qualifying the selection. To participate in process improvements having found the principal root cause. To demonstrate the successful application of a variety of practical root-cause identification and sorting techniques (e.g. the five ‘whys’, Pareto charts, fault tree analysis, cause and effect diagrams). The ability to put forward potential solutions and select and verify the most appropriate. Describes solution generation process used and how proposals address the root causes identified. Describes process used to establish the criteria for selection. Describes the verification process for the chosen solution(s). Demonstrates use of appropriate techniques to generate solution(s) to identified root cause(s), then sort, select and verify.
14. Presentation and reporting skills.
Understands the importance of communicating effectively. Describes effective ways to structure presentations and reports. Demonstrates the planning and delivery of presentations, formal or informal, and preparation of reports.
15. Process thinking skills.
Understands the processes and/or systems in which the Green Belt project operates and the impacts the project may have. To describe the processes and/or systems in which the Green Belt project operates and the impacts the project may have. Demonstrates the application of appropriate process tools/ techniques such as SIPOC, flow charts.
16. Project management.
Managing a finite-time improvement activity with a defined group of people. Describes what constitutes good project management skills. To have demonstrated the effective management of a Six Sigma Green Belt project.
17. Risk analysis.
To understand the concept of risk in a Six Sigma project. Describes what is meant by risk and how risks are evaluated and prioritized in a Green Belt project. To have demonstrated the identification of risk. To have demonstrated how to quantify and prioritize risk.
18. Self-review and development.
To be able to understand own strengths and areas requiring development. To describe own strengths and plans for self-development. To have demonstrated self-review and suitable actions taken.
19. Six Sigma tools.
To understand the application of Six Sigma tools and techniques. Describes the use and application of these techniques. To have demonstrated the correct selection and application of appropriate Six Sigma tools and techniques in a Green Belt project.
20. Stakeholder management.
To have knowledge of stakeholder management. Describes types of stakeholder and appropriate techniques for stakeholder management.
21. Statistical concepts.
To understand statistical concepts and methods and use appropriately. Describes the appropriate application of statistical concepts in a Green Belt project.
22. Statistical software use.
To have knowledge of the application, capabilities and limitations of at least one statistical software tool and situations when it is appropriate to use it. Describes the use and strengths of one software package which runs statistical analysis, including any limitations. To demonstrate proficiency in at least one currently-available software package which runs statistical analysis, including the sense-checking and presentation of analysis results.
23. Sustainability and control.
To understand the concept of control in a Six Sigma project. Describes the importance of sustainability of implemented solution. To demonstrate steps taken to ensure performance of improved process is sustained over time.
The standard still addresses the Black Belt, Master Black Belt, Lean Practitioner, Lean Leader and Lean Expert skills. In time, I will outline the main points for all profiles in more articles. From the point of view of the Green Belts, beyond what is expected in statistics and analytical tools, we can see a very important focus on creativity, management capacity and mobilization and soft skills. The standard ratifies my view that we need to form the Green Belt with change agent and use Lean Six Sigma as a way to train future leaders in increasingly organized companies by projects.
Having the understanding of these items and revisiting the training and driving style of your program brings a new air towards a more collaborative and people-centered construction.