One key innovation of Six Sigma involves the “professionalizing” of quality management functions. Prior to Six Sigma, quality management in practice largely relegated to the production floor and to separate statistics in the quality department. Six Sigma borrows martial arts ranking terminology to define a hierarchy (and career path) that cuts across all business functions.
Six Sigma identifies several key roles for successful implementation.
Executive Leadership includes CEO and other members of top management. They are responsible for setting up a vision for Six Sigma implementation. They also empower the other role holders with the freedom and resources to explore new ideas for breakthrough improvements.
Champions are responsible for Six Sigma implementation across the organization in an integrated manner. Executive Leadership draws them from upper management. Champions also act as mentors to Black Belts.
Master Black Belts, identified by champions, act as in-house coaches on Six Sigma. They devote 100% of their time to Six Sigma. They assist champions and guide Black Belts and Green Belts. In addition to statistical tasks, they spend their time on ensuring consistent application of Six Sigma in a variety of functions and departments.
Black Belts operate under Master Black Belts to apply Six Sigma methodology to specific projects. They devote 100% of their time to Six Sigma. They primarily focus on Six Sigma project execution, whereas Champions and Master Black Belts focus on identifying projects / functions for Six Sigma.
• Green Belts, the employees who take up Six Sigma implementation along with their job responsibilities to another, operating under the guidance of Black Belts.
• Yellow Belts, trained in the application of basic Six Sigma management tools, work with the Black Belt throughout the project stages and are closest to the work.