Six Sigma: The Necessity of Standardization

The Pyzdek Institute is striving to standardize the certification process for Lean Six Sigma Black Belts, a highly respected qualification in the field of process improvement. This goal was shared at the recent “International Seminar on Six Sigma” at the Banas Qualidade conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The need for standardization became apparent during a presentation by a U.S. consultant, whose interpretation of Six Sigma differed from the conventional framework. His approach lacked key elements such as the ‘belts’, leadership champions, and the driver Xs from big Ys, which he dismissed as a caste system. It led to a realization: when organizations hire a consultant for “Six Sigma”, they might get a methodology that barely resembles the Six Sigma most understand. Hence, the pressing need for standardization.

The Pyzdek Institute, under the guidance of Thomas Pyzdek, aims to prevent Six Sigma from suffering the fate of its predecessor, Total Quality Management (TQM). Due to the lack of a universally accepted definition and absence of a certification process, TQM became a collection of practices defined by each consultant, which eventually fell out of favor due to an over 80% failure rate. In contrast, Six Sigma, with its well-defined approach to TQM, sparked the pursuit of world-class quality. To keep this momentum going, it is vital to clearly define what Six Sigma is and what it isn’t.

To standardize the certification process for Lean Six Sigma Black Belts, the Pyzdek Institute provides a comprehensive training program. It comprises a sequence of online modules covering Lean Six Sigma principles, methodologies, and tools. Each module consists of a lesson developed by Thomas Pyzdek, a quiz providing immediate feedback, and an assignment evaluated by a Pyzdek Institute-certified Master Black Belt.

Upon completion of the training, applicants must pass a comprehensive proctored exam to authenticate their identity and understanding of the subject matter. The proctor monitors candidates via webcam and microphone during the exam. Successful candidates are awarded a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Silver certificate.

To earn full certification, applicants must complete a real-world project reviewed and graded by a certified Master Black Belt. During the project, participants have access to project management software and tools, and receive feedback from the Master Black Belt. The project proceeds through phases (DMAIC) and is reviewed during Tollgate Reviews. A satisfactory project grade leads to a live presentation by the participants to Thomas Pyzdek and their instructor, culminating in certification as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

This certification process requires a significant commitment to training, study, and practical application. It’s designed to provide individuals with the skills and knowledge required to successfully lead complex process improvement projects. Therefore, becoming a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt is not merely about passing an exam, it’s about delivering tangible results and driving change within an organization.