To become a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, a Green Belt professional must complete an extensive four-week training course, implement at least two or more Six Sigma projects, and pass a theory test on Six Sigma methodologies.
The difference between the training a Black Belt would undergo to that of the Yellow and Green Belts is that the training program includes the study of the Lean principles, it also tackles advanced statistics, trainees are also taught of leadership and decision-making skills, how to effectively report to project sponsors, how to coach/train/mentor Yellow and Green Belts (which act as team members), and how to properly select team members.
The training will also help these professionals take on the function of a supervisor of a Six Sigma program or also known as Business Process Department of the company. The course will also teach them on how to supervise the Six Sigma assignments permitting them to be directly in charge of these assignments. Black Belts usually hold this position in a full time capacity for a span of a few years and return to their usual job duties once the project is completed. These individuals help train, coach, mentor, develop, head and direct employees, including the management, to reach their objective.
A certified Six Sigma Black Belt realizes team dynamics and demonstrates team direction. They are the ones who select team members and designate them with clear and complete functions and responsibilities. These professionals have an absolute knowledge of the DMAIC method. They also have the advanced knowledge of Lean concepts, and they can promptly determine non-value-added actions. These are the individuals who report directly to the project sponsors or the company executives. During project implementation, Black Belts are responsible for sighting possible obstacles or delays that might create grounds for the project to fail. A Black Belt professional usually stays even if the project is already done. They are the ones who monitor progress.
The main focus of the Black Belts is project execution. Their tasks revolve more on the Analyze, Improve and Control phase of DMAIC. The difference between their tasks to those of the Master Black Belts is that the latter focus on classifying the projects while the Black Belts are involved on running the team assignments.
As the person in charge, a Black Belt will also need to possess exceptional communication skills. Their communication channel will run in several directions. Coaching, giving instructions to the rest of the team, coordinating with external parties which are not part of the team but essential for data collection and plan implementation, and reporting to project sponsors and/or the company executives.
As project heads, Black Belts take full accountability for the smooth implementation of the projects. They could either work with variety of teams or train Yellow Belts or Green Belts to be leaders of their own respective groups. A project leader’s position is very critical, that’s why it is imperative that the individual must be highly qualified, trained, with varied experience and be able to make sound decisions fast.