Six Sigma Belt Hierarchy Information

Understanding the belt system of Six Sigma is not difficult when you think of it in terms of tiers. The Black Belt is the top individual or leader. At this level, someone would practice leadership skills on a daily basis, design, develop, and run team projects utilizing the DMAIC model. A Master Black Belt would be responsible for training the lower level belts (Green and Yellow).

The belts run on much the same concept as martial arts. The most intense is black, the second level is green, followed by yellow and then white. There is also the master black level, which is, in essence, a master at the Six Sigma method who would be responsible for the training the Green and Yellow Belts.

At the top, these belts, or trained and certified professionals, are responsible for the smooth functioning of projects and plans under their watch. They are in charge of the teams and training others to be leaders of teams. They must have an excellent knowledge of human behavior and how teams work in order to lead them, as well as a thorough understanding of the Six Sigma Methodology. They should be intuitive and able to work well with the members of the team. They should also be able to spot talent and skills in their team members so that they can correctly dole out duties to those who will do them best.

At the second level, the green belts are assistants to the higher belts, executives and champions while sometimes leading teams of their own on small projects. They help to analyze and collect data that is used for their projects and for other team projects that they are involved in.  The Green Belts are the individuals who do most of the actual ‘six sigma work’ within a company.  They are often in charge of mentoring Yellow and White Belts.

The Yellow Belts will work as team members and will carry out tasks they are given by their superiors. They will review, analyze and suggest improvements for the projects they work on. They are vital team members who will carry out the tasks assigned to them by the team leaders, although they only are support level individuals in terms of the Six Sigma hierarchy.

The White Belts are the least experienced of the belts. They may not be part of the actual Six Sigma team and are only aware of the procedures and policies on an awareness level. They are usually assigned to help with local resources and can work to solve problems that are not of a vital nature to the program set forth by the executives.  In other words, they are basically trained support staff who are aware of the Six Sigma Goals, but do not often directly contribute to them.

The Master Black Belts have extensive training in the methodology as well as experience.  They may act as training providers for lower level belts, responsible for teaching others about the methodology and preparing them for their own certifications. Within the model, those professionals who are having trouble or issues can consult with someone holding this rank. They will be offered assistance in resolving the issue to the benefit of the company.  In other words, whenever someone is ‘stuck’, a  Master Black Belt is consulted for advice.

Many organizations have benefited by using Six Sigma Certification as a method for gathering data more efficiently and implementing plans for improvement more effectively. From the top to the bottom, anyone who decides to use these particular quality control methods should quickly see improvements in their organization.