Six Sigma Primer Workshop (Dec 2017)

At the bottom of the page, I’ve shared the workshop presentation from Dec 2017. But before you watch it, you might want to know a little more about Six Sigma.

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is an improvement methodology developed by Motorola in the mid-1980’s, which was an enhancement from the Total Quality Management programs of the 1970’s. At the heart of Six Sigma is quality improvement tools going back to Walter Shewhart and Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

Sigma represents the standard deviation of a population of data, and “six sigma” represents a process that is six standard deviations from the nearest specification limit (see image below).

The process average is six standard deviations from the nearest limit. The limit can be above or below the average. Processes can be greater than six sigma.


A Six Sigma process can perform with only 3.4 defects per million opportunities. You can convert any process into a sigma level, and the tools of Six Sigma help you increase your sigma level (which reduces variation and the number of defects in the process).

DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) is the process used to conduct improvement projects, and the improvement tools are trained based on these 5 phases.

Certification is a key element to Six Sigma, since there is a lot of training required to solve more complex problems. The three key certification levels are:

  • Green Belt – Able to solve many problems in your organization. Often includes training on Lean concepts.  Typically Green Belts still have their regular job, but incorporate these concepts into their work, and conduct 1-2 projects per year, saving $25,000-100,000 USD per year on average. Green Belt certification can be obtained through exam or project experience in less than a year.
  • Black Belt – Able to solve most problems in your organization. Much more statistical training and knowledge required. Typically Black Belts are full time doing improvement work, conducting multiple projects per year, teaching Green Belt classes, and mentoring Green Belt projects. Black Belt certification can be obtained through project experience in about 1-3 years.
  • Master Black Belt – Able to solve almost any problem in your organization. Highly advanced statistical training and knowledge required, along with leadership coaching and change management skills. Typically Master Black Belts are full time doing improvement work and setting the improvement strategy for the organization. They also conduct multiple projects per year, teach Green and Black Belt classes, and mentor Green and Black Belt projects. Master Black Belt certification can be obtained through business transformation experience and completion of multiple projects in no sooner than 5 years (more likely 10+ years).

Here is the recording of the 1st offering of this workshop, from 12/21/17


If you liked the golf analogy, you can watch a more detailed explanation below

Summary of Workshop

Whether you work for a manufacturing company, work in an office, or provide customer service, Six Sigma can help you solve important and challenging problems within your organization, using a structured approach and data analysis.

PDF files of workshop slides: Six Sigma Workshop Slides

In this Six Sigma primer we’ll address:

  • How the DMAIC model and analysis tools increase the chance of solving problems
  • The different Six Sigma belt certification levels (Yellow, Green, Black and Master Black Belt)
  • Popular analysis tools such as graphical tools, designed experiments (DOE), measurement studies, statistical process control, regression analysis and statistical software
  • How Six Sigma compares to Lean
  • Examples of Six Sigma applied to sustainability (environmental and social)
  • Exercises for measuring time and conducting experiments


Learn more about Lean or Six Sigma, or access other free Lean and Six Sigma training >>>

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