What’s a Green Belt project? What’s a really good Green Belt project? Are you trying to figure out if you’ve set yourself up for success? This introductory webinar is specifically designed for those Green Belts who would appreciate some extra guidance.
Watch this 30 minute webinar to get tips on:
- The advantages of Green Belt Certification
- Certification requirements
- How to select a good Green Belt Project
- Navigating the training and exams
- Using free templates
- Submitting a Storyboard
This quick webinar will help you put your problem-solving skills into action right way!
Elisabeth Swan, Managing Partner
Elisabeth is a Managing Partner and Master Black Belt of GoLeanSixSigma.com. Elisabeth has over 25 years of success helping leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem solving muscles and use Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.
Tracy O’Rourke, Managing Partner
Tracy is a Managing Partner at GoLeanSixSigma.com. For almost 20 years, she’s helped leading organizations like Washington State, Cisco and GE build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.
Elisabeth Swan: Hello and congratulations on deciding to get your Green Belt Certification. I’m Elisabeth Swan and my colleague here is Tracy O’Rourke.
Tracy O’Rourke: Hello and congratulations as well.
Elisabeth Swan: We are both managing partners of GoLeanSixSigma.com and we’re going to give you a brief overview so you can get started on right foot to your Green Belt Certification. This is probably your first webinar with us but you will be happy to know this is just one of a great webinar series that we’ve developed for you, our learner community.
What We Will Cover
Today, we’re going to cover a little bit about GoLeanSixSigma.com and then the definition of a Green Belt, the requirements to become a Certified Green Belt, how to select a Green Belt project, and then an overview of the process of becoming a Green Belt; pre-work, navigating the Green Belt training and exams, and then lastly, how to submit your Green Belt project storyboard.
Just a little bit about us. Our mission is to make it easy for you to build your problem-solving muscles. So that means we simplify complex concepts. We’ve made our training extremely practical and we think really enjoyable.
We provide a running case study at the Bahama Bistro where our restaurant team applies all the tools to their project.
We’ve use and taught Lean Six Sigma for decades because it supplies the best toolkit for problem-solving. And thankfully, there’s a growing list of companies who agree with us. Here are some of the companies we’ve helped.
We’ve Helped People From…
So you can see lots of different organizations that are coming to us for their Lean Six Sigma training needs. Many industries and organizations, you got brick and mortar, online, transactional, manufacturing, government, education, these are all great organizations and they’re in great company because we are globally recognized in 220 countries. And right now, we have 90,000 learners. But tomorrow, we’re going to have more.
So Tracy is going to start us off with you and where the Green Belt, you, fits in all of this.
Lean Six Sigma Belt Levels
Tracy O’Rourke: Thank you, Elisabeth. So yes, a lot of people say, “What is a Green Belt anyways?” and we are going to cover that in our training. So you’re going to learn about all the different levels that are out there. The karate analogy is used to associate the belts with the level of involvement and the level of skill.
For example, White Belts and Yellow Belts have introductory skills where Green Belts and Black Belts have an increased knowledge of skills. Often what we see is Green Belts are often the center of the activity. So let’s talk about what a Green Belt is.
So a Green Belt really is anyone who is trained and conducts process improvement within a process. As a rule, Green Belts are in departments or functional areas. They can be functional managers, process owners, technical experts, or in an administrative function or position. They are really responsible for initiating and/or managing Lean Six Sigma projects within their primary function.
And often, we see that Green Belts work closely with Black Belts on project teams. Green Belts are trained in many of the same improvement techniques as Black Belt but less detail.
What It Does for You
So what does becoming a Green Belt do for you? That’s always an important question to ask. And ultimately, it’s really a good investment in a sea of constant change.
So now, the amount of new technical information is doubling every two years. If you think about the internet and how much data and information is happening, it’s very fast. Things are changing very fast. And information is changing very quickly.
For example, for students starting a 4-year degree, this means that half of what they learned in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study. So rather than investing in something that’s obsolete in two years, you are investing time and money in something that will sustain over time.
There will always be problems to solve. Organizations always have problems to solve and organizations need people that are good problem-solvers. So ultimately, that’s what getting your Green Belt will do for you.
Green Belt Certification Requirements
Let’s review the Green Belt Certification requirements.
First, you’re going to complete the pre-work that we will be talking about in a few minutes.
You will complete the online training modules.
You will pass the exams with a score of 80% or higher.
And then you will be submitting a Green Belt project within four months of completing the exam.
We will receive your Green Belt project storyboard and it will be approved and then you will be certified and you can celebrate. Woohoo!
Lean Six Sigma Project Types
So, one important step for Green Belt candidate is the selection and completion of a project. We have seen lots of ideas submitted as projects. And unfortunately, not all projects get approved. We want to make sure that you get this right and that you are successful. We want to set you up for success because the worst thing that can happen is for you to go through the entire training, passed all the exams, complete a project, only to find out that the project selected was not a good candidate for a Green Belt Training Certification.
We want to set you up for success…
Then unfortunately, you have to start over with a new project. Wouldn’t that be terrible? I think it would be terrible and a terrible waste of time for you.
So what do we mean by a good candidate for Green Belt Training in terms of a project? Elisabeth is going to tell us a little bit about that.
Elisabeth Swan: So you can see on your screen here that we’ve got a number of different project types. And they’re all valid, right? So these are all potential projects. They’re just not all good for Green Belt projects. You’re going to do one along with your training.
So the first one we look at are Quick Wins, also known as Just Do It. These are – we see a lot of these. The issue is clear. The solution is clear. So that means there’s no need for analysis. You would be very bored going through Green Belt training. You would have nothing to do because the problem and the solution are all clear and all you have to do is implement.
The second one is Process Improvement since that’s where we’re headed. I’m going to end there. I’ll come back to that.
The next one is Process Design. That means you have to invent a whole new process. And that might be what’s needed. It’s OK for someone to do that project but it requires a different toolset than what you’re going to learn in Green Belt training so those are no good for you either. We need an existing process.
Redesign is similar to design. The idea is that the process is so dysfunctional that we’re going to design a whole new one.
And last one over here, this Infrastructure means that we’re installing some measurement because we want to track our processes and we want to track what’s important to customers. We want to get information. And we might be doing that as part of a project. We might be developing a way to get measures and data but in itself, it’s not a whole project.
So that brings us back to process improvement. So this is a process that is either inefficient. It has defects. It takes too long. And this one needs analysis since there are lots that could be wrong. That’s the kind of project that we want you to select. It’s the one that’s going to make successful.
So you see at the bottom it says it’s also called the DMAIC? Otherwise known as DMAIC, you will hear that project.
So let’s do a quick review of what is DMAIC. There is that one that we want, the process improvement. So here is what a DMAIC project is. This is the path you’re going to go through. You’re going to learn this in Green Belt training. You’ll see this a lot.
Define. You identify and define a problem. You define the process you’re working in.
Measure. You measure the severity of this problem. How bad is it? You get the baseline.
Analyze. This is critical. You conduct root cause analysis to figure out why the problem is happening. So that’s a lot of tools to help you understand what’s going on in the process.
And then the Improve phase, you implement solutions to solve those problems.
And then in Control, you maintain the gains of the great solutions that you just installed.
So if you project idea does not address the problem that will benefit from root cause analysis then we’re going to ask you to come up with another project.
So to get started, let’s cover the pre-work steps in detail. You’re going to complete and submit the project screener. You’re going to receive initial approval for a project idea. And then your training modules are going to unlock and you’re going to be off to the races.
So let’s focus on the project screener. Your first step is to complete the project screener and send it into our Master Black Belt coaches for approval. The screener is designed to help you save time and energy by getting you started on the right track with a good DMAIC project idea. You’re going to learn more about project selection in the introduction phase of your training but the screener is designed to help you get a good feedback right away before you start your training.
And we’ll you know if you’ve selected a good Green Belt project. And that way, you can apply the learning principles to your project while you go through the training. You are also free to complete the training before starting your project if you prefer. Some people like to go all the way through it. Get a sense of everything that’s coming and then they go back and then they redo the training with their project. Either way, we want to make sure you got a good project when you’re ready to start.
And Tracy is going to start us off with more detail around the project screener.
Tracy O’Rourke: Thank you, Elisabeth. So, beside this webinar, you are going to fill up this project screener which is one of your very first requirements for pre-work. And the screener is an Excel template that you’re going to enter your own information for your project idea.
There are three components, really three questions that we are looking for you to answer as part of this project screener. And that is, what is the existing process, what’s the problem, and what’s the goal?
I’m going to briefly talk about those steps and then we’re going to spend some more time talking about those in detail.
What Is the Existing Process
So the first thing we want to know is what is the existing process that you’re going to try to improve? All projects need to be work-based. So what you really think about is a process that you work in. And I’m going to spend some time talking about that in just a moment.
Once you picked the process then you pick what’s wrong with the process? What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?
And ideally, we want that problem to affect the customer. So pick a process. Pick a problem that affects the customer. And then what’s the goal? What do you want to see in terms of improvement?
Typically, process issues that affect customers fall into two buckets, a cycle time or lead time issue, meaning it’s taking too long for my stuff to come out or it’s a quality issue. Meaning, the process has defects coming out of it so hey, things are coming out of this process but they are wrong or they are incomplete or they are inaccurate.
Those are primarily the two big buckets we see affecting customers. Buckets meaning process issue buckets.
And finally, what’s the goal? Considering the time frame. The goal focuses on a measurable improvement of what you want to see by when. Remember, you’ve only got four months to complete the project. So make sure it’s manageable.
If you follow this line of thinking with your project, you will be more likely to select the appropriate type of project to apply to DMAIC. So let’s review the screener in a little bit more detail.
Everything Is a Process
So again, this first section is really around what is the existing process. Well, let’s talk a little bit about what we mean by process because sometimes that is not clear. Everything really is a process. It’s a series of steps or actions that create a product or a service.
Tying your shoe is a process. Baking a cake is a process. Or you might go to the airport and you have to wait in line to get through security. That is a process. Have you ever been to Chipotle or Subway or a fast food? That is a process. They have a process that customers have to go through to get their food.
So even though many things do have a process, sometimes we see people picking things like a measure. They say, “Well, I want to reduce attrition in our department.” What process is that? There is no process related to just attrition. There are probably many processes that affect that.
So that wouldn’t be a good idea. Also, sometimes people say, “I want to fix IT.” Well, that’s not a process either. That’s a department. And we really want to focus on the process, not the people that work in the process.
So really think about, is this a process? Is this a series of steps or actions that create a product or a service?
Here is an example of a process that is selected. This is something that is an accounts payable. Accounts payable is a function or a department so you can’t just say fix accounts payable. It’s not a process. There are probably a lot of things that accounts payable will do besides just pay invoices.
So again, this emphasizes that we want to focus on processes, not the people or the departments that do the process. We want to identify the process so we can help map it.
…this emphasizes that we want to focus on processes, not the people or the departments that do the process.
So what process issues might the customer care about with this process? So this process is paying invoices. You can see that there are very simple steps here laid out in a 5-step process. The customer might be saying, “You know what? I get payments very late. Why do I always get my payment late?” So that might be an issue that the customer has and you might be identifying or analyzing the process to identify what’s wrong with it. What are some of the root causes of why it’s taking so long?
So that’s ultimately what DMAIC is really good for, analyzing root causes so that you can improve the process. And ultimately, that is the main question. What are you going to try to analyze in this process to fix?
Now, Elisabeth is going to discuss the idea of a process problem.
What Is the Problem?
Elisabeth Swan: Thanks, Tracy. So for each of the three screener questions, we give you examples from our team at the Bahama Bistro on the right. And you enter your information in the center. So your project, your problem, those will go in the center. So this will give you an idea of the format.
So Tracy said the process we’re going to look at is paying invoices and we’re going to describe the measurable problem and then the impact of that problem in the middle. And since we’re focused on the process of paying invoices, the problem that we’re observing is that observing is that they take a month. They take more than a month. They take two months to be paid. And that causes lots of calls and complaints.
So we’re going to – that’s what you’re going to enter in the middle. What’s the problem? What is happening? And if you can give a measurable amount like how long is it taking or 30% of these things come back as rework. So give us some kind of a measure.
And then why do we care? Well, we care because customers are unhappy or we care because it delays when we’re getting revenues, things like that. So that’s the first two questions.
What’s the existing process? And what’s the problem?
What Is the Goal?
And the last and third one is what’s the goal?
And for this one, we have given you some guidance on how to build that goal statement. We’ve got a dropdown menu. Every one of these, if you can see that within the goal statement where you enter your info, there’s a little red triangle in the corner of those yellow boxes and each one of those is a note and it’s giving you ideas of what you could be putting in there.
And once again, Bahama Bistro, nice example on the right. You can follow that as your guide. And we’ve put in one here that matches what happens with the invoice process. So the first option here is either decrease or increase. You only have two verbs that would be the goal of your project.
We are decreasing bad stuff and we are increasing good stuff. So we’re going to decrease and what’s the unit? Well, we said it was the invoice. Think about what’s going through the process? Is it an application? Is it information? Is it a request? What is the thing going through the process? So that’s the unit. So decrease invoice.
What are we measuring? Lead time.
What’s the baseline? Two months right now. It’s usually an average.
What’s the target? Well, we’d like to drop it down to one month.
And when do you want to do that by? Let’s say November of this year.
And as you can tell, if you look down to the very bottom, it’s build my goal statement. Decrease the invoice lead time from two months to one month by November 12, 2017. So you don’t have to write anything in the bottom. Just by entering your info into those yellow boxes, it’s going to automatically fill the bottom box. So that’s it. Those are your three questions that you’re asking.
Submit Project Screener
So once you complete your template, your project screener, you are going to look back to your steps inside the courses and you’re going to click on submit the project screener. That’s going to bring you to where you can upload your completed Excel document and that’s it. You’ve uploaded it and you’re going to get feedback from us in three days.
And now, Tracy, back to you for the rest of the requirements.
Training & Exams
Tracy O’Rourke: Thank you, Elisabeth. So once you submit the screener and it’s approved, the training modules will become unlocked. And again, we’re not trying to be difficult by having you do the screener. We want you to be successful.
And again, we practice what we preach. We are continually improving our processes. So actually, we’re just really exploring ways to make sure that learners are very successful. And we’ve actually improved this process a number of times.
What we typically will see is people entering solutions upfront which is one of the biggest mistakes, if that’s not a DMAIC project. If you know the solution, it’s a quick hit. Just go do it. DMAIC is really for analyzing process and discovering those root causes about why there is a problem.
So training and exams includes complete the training modules for 32 hours – of 32 hours. You would also complete the exams. And as you go through the training on the right-hand side is a menu. You can see that these are screenshots that show you the notes and the tabs. And you can use this to maneuver more efficiently through the material.
So you have the option of taking the exams as each of the DMAIC phases are complete. There are 6-phase exams. Or you can wait until the end and take the exams all at once. We suggest working on your project as you go through the modules while you’re in the training.
However, as Elisabeth had said earlier, some people like to go through the training first and then work on their project as they go through the training on a second pass. It’s really up to you.
The exam is about in total 130 questions, all multiple choices. There are unlimited retakes to the test. And some of the tests if you do them by phase are only 25 or 30 minutes, if you do those by phase. So it’s really up to you what you want to do.
Post Training – Storyboard Submission
So remember, projects must be work-based. Once you complete the entire exam of all six modules, what will happen is now at that moment, you will have four months to complete your project once the exams are complete.
We’ve provided you with all of the tools and templates you need and you can download those templates in a bundle from the resource tab. You’re going to submit your storyboard of the project that we provide with the template. You don’t have to use the template but we strongly encourage you to make sure that what you submit follows what is needed.
You’re going to need to support and provide information for everything on the storyboard checklist. That is really important. If you do not send those in, it will get pushed back to you to make sure you’ve got all the mandatory requirements.
You’re going to submit your completed storyboard to our Master Black Belts for review and they will review it. You have up to three times to review it if you don’t pass right away. But ultimately, once that project is approved, you will have your certification.
Here is an example of what a storyboard looks like. And again, someone could have submitted all of these elements and this is from our friends at the Bahama Bistro. Every template you use has a handy example from the Bahama Bistro on the second tab. So when you look at those, take a look. That’s a great learning opportunity. And you can reference those as you’re filling them out for your project work. There are lots of examples to learn from.
So Elisabeth is going to review those storyboard requirements for you.
Elisabeth Swan: So storyboard submission is key to certification as Tracy is letting you know. The storyboard submission guide is there for your reference. That’s online and downloadable. And remember, if you miss one of these six, I’m going to go over these with you shortly, but if you miss one, you’re going to get a request to re-submit your storyboard. And hopefully, it will be better.
But you will be certified based on the following:
1. You have to complete the required storyboard elements. And as Tracy said, use the storyboard checklist. That’s going to be in your storyboard so you can show us you’ve done each of the elements in the checklist.
2. Tell your stories succinctly. We sometimes receive a slide deck that has 50 slides in it. And we have to send it back because that’s a lot of slides and the story should be a shorter representation of what you’ve done. So use your editing skills. Bring it down to 25 slides that really tell your story in a very efficient and impactful way.
3. Show measurable improvement. This is key. These are improvement projects. You’ve got a document. What did you – did you reduce waste? Did you reduce cycle time? Did you reduce defects? We want to know how you improve this process. You’re going to show us before how was this process operating and after. You’ve got charts and graphs to show that.
4. Use the tools wisely. You’re going to use the right tools for the right reasons. And that’s what you’re learning inside of your Green Belt training, exactly what each of those tools does.
And then we’re asking you to write a takeaway sentence on each slide. What did you learn? What did that graph tell you? How did that advance the story of your project? We need to know what that slide is saying to you. So, a takeaway on each slide.
5. Label your graphs clearly. Title all your charts and graphs. What are our people looking at? Label each access. Is this time? Is this minutes? Indicate the timeframe of the data. Was this from June? Was this from all of 2016? Give us the time frame.
6. And lastly, be very clear about your analysis. What were all your root cause hypotheses? How did you verify them or disprove them? You’ve got to let us know how did you determine the true root cause or root causes.
Storyboard Checklist – Define Segment
So let’s take a look at the storyboard checklist that we’ve mentioned. This is just a snapshot of the checklist. And this comes with your template bundle. And this is just the Define Phase piece, the requirements of the Define Phase. If you remember, DMAIC, Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control, so there’s an introduction and then there are the five phases of DMAIC.
What was the problem, the goal, the scope, the reason for this project to exist?
So we list the question you are answering about your project for each requirement. So you can see that first one. What was the problem, the goal, the scope, the reason for this project to exist? Well, that goes into something called a Project Charter. And there’s a template for that. So you can see a little T, means that there is a template available. All right?
And there is in some cases, the slide references tools that are on a list to the right. So that means you got options based on your project. Projects are different from each other.
So in this one, you notice it says, “What’s the detailed view of one or more sections of this process?” Well, you’ve got options. You can include one or more. You got swimlane, value stream, basic flow, spaghetti. And you’ll learn all about those. But just so you know, that’s how the checklist works. So this is a great guide to make sure you’re submitting a complete storyboard.
So let’s recap.
What We Covered
We covered today a little bit about who is Go Lean Six Sigma, the definition of a Green Belt, the requirements to become a Green Belt, how to select a Green Belt project, overview of the process of becoming a Green Belt which involved the pre-work, the navigating the Green Belt training and exams, and lastly, how to submit your Green Belt project storyboard.
So now, you have a better idea of what to expect as you embark on your journey to Green Belt Certification. And if you have any other questions, you can email us at [email protected]
Tracy O’Rourke: So now, it’s up to you. Your next steps are, once you’ve got a project idea, submit your project screener. Remember to go to all the additional references tabs to download your template bundle and any other reference tools.
We really hope this was helpful for you in getting started. And we can’t wait to see your project idea. Good luck!
Elisabeth Swan: Good luck!
View our upcoming webinars and join live so you can ask questions and let us know what you’d like to us to cover next. We’re busy building new webinars all the time. And we’re happy to know you’re busy too – building your problem-solving muscles – keep it up!