Here are my observations based on not just training a few hundred Six Sigma Green Belts across different demographics of geography, industry and age group, but also having mentored them for few months after the training:
- Retention of a subject like Six Sigma is much less than soft-skills or technical training like software languages.
- Ability of Green Belts to relate the application of six sigma concepts to their line of business is quite lesser than soft-skills like team work, time management, negotiation skills, etc.
Here are the 10 things according to me that Six Sigma Green Belts forget within just 10 -days of attending a training program, implying nearly zero retention:
- Project Charter: How to a write a business case that convinces the management? And also differentiate it from Problem Statement.
- Fish-Bone: What to do after completing a Fish-Bone diagram? Of course, collect data but on what factors?
- Gage R&R: Conduct an live Gage R&R study (at least Discrete data).
- Sampling: Choosing a sampling scheme and deciding the sample size for data collection.
- Descriptive Statistics: Meaningful and practical interpretation of ‘Standard Deviation’. If there is a process with Standard Deviation of 5 minutes, what does this number mean in real sense?
- P-value: What does it mean to the business to accept or reject a hypothesis based on P value?
- Variation: Identify the major sources of variation that impact a project metric?
- Regression: How to use the regression equation to operate the business efficiently.
- Control Chart: Explain to a layman (probably a Manager) what an out-of-control data point means in practical sense.
- Sustenance: How to make sure the project exists after a year. I don’t mean the project deck! Many times, it is considered that sustenance is not in our hands, but actually it is a skill that can be acquired and needs to be taught to all Green Belts.
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One of the primary reasons, why Green Belts can’t retain these 10 things, is because most of all this is taught in less than a week with little time for things to settle in, and for the participants to relate.
One of the solutions, that works well for me as a coach, is to limit the class size to 2 or 3 and spread the program over 60 days. I actually found best results during my one-on-one training sessions!
Return-on-Investment of such executive development programs are at most important and so the business & career benefits recoups these investments.
My note will be incomplete if I don’t mention about few things that Six Sigma Green Belt retain very well after the training, even for several years:
· How to do Fish-Bone Diagram?
· How to play the Gage R&R game?
· Remember and recite the phrase “P is low, Null must go”
· How to map the process?
· What is Value Add, and Non-Value Add?