When promoting Six Sigma certification, we rarely have difficulty getting people interested in the idea. With opportunities to increase your salary $4000 to $7000, get promoted, improve your problem solving skills, and boost your resume or C.V., most are willing to put in the hard work to obtain a certification, especially at the Green Belt level.
The biggest problem we run into is helping people find a project to work on.
“Do I have to do a project, can’t I just take the training and take a test?”
Projects are important to allow you to get an opportunity for hands-on experience applying what you have learned in the training. The real world is much different than the textbook examples, so it’s important to learn how to take the concepts and figure out how they fit into your company, job function, and industry. This also provides you with an opportunity to explain these concepts and ideas to your co-workers and management, who may know nothing about Six Sigma. This also helps the learning process when you have to explain it or teach it to someone else.
In addition, the training you receive will not make complete sense until you are analyzing your own data that you are very familiar with. This allows you to compare your current approach to analysis against the training, to see how the analysis confirms or conflicts with your initial interpretation. That is where true learning takes place.
To help you brainstorm some ideas for defining a project, we put together a few example projects we found online. Most training classes show manufacturing examples, but the majority of the opportunity in the world is outside manufacturing (service processes). It can be difficult to figure out how to select a service related project, so these examples should give you a few ideas.
Hopefully you see the value in doing a project along with the training.
“But I can’t find a project to work on”
What if you can’t get support for a project from your current company? Is that fair that you are stuck with no options? You want to learn the tools to help you with your day-to-day problem solving, and enhance your chance for promotion, but if your company won’t give you the time, direction or support for a project, now what?
We still feel that a real project is the best way to go to get the most out of your learning experience. Even though the online certification program does not require a project, you should still try to get one defined and completed, so you have some true improvements to show your employer (or future employer). However, we know that isn’t always possible, especially if your company does not support your training and certification. It can be a catch-22 if your company doesn’t give you the time or support to take training and get certified. You might feel stuck, in that you want to be able to do more process improvement projects in your future job, but you can’t get hired into a position to do that without a certification. A project-free option can help address this dilemma, and get you moving in the right direction.
One of the more popular idea is to reach out to a local nonprofit or membership organization, and offer to run an improvement project for them. Check out the book, “Lean Six Sigma for Good
” for ideas on which organizations to work with (at work or in your free time).