DEFINE – TEAMS & CUSTOMERS -conti- Performance/Roles & Responsibilities

Six Sigma Roles (IV-19)

Most successful organizations have implemented the following roles in their black belt Program:

  • Black belts                                                                                * Executive sponsors
  • Master black belts                                                                   * Champions
  • Green belts                                                                               * Process owners

Black Belts

Most effective in full-time process improvement positions six-figure black belts are a core part of the team.  six sigma black belts are individuals who have studied and demonstrated skill in implementing the principles, practices, and techniques of six sigma from maximum cost reduction in proper improvement.

Typically demonstrating their skill through significant positive financial impact in customer benefit on multiple projects, six sigma black belts may be utilized as team leaders responsible for measuring, analyzing, improving and controlling key processes that influence customer satisfaction and/or productivity growth.  Black belts may also operate as internal consultants, while simultaneously working with multiple teams.  Black belts may also be utilized as instructors for problem solving and statistics classes.  Black belts are encouraged to mentor green belts and black belt candidates.

Master Black Belts

Usually, in full-time process improvement position, master black belts are primarily teachers  who mentor black belts and review the black belts projects.  Primary selection criteria for master black belts include expertise in quantitative skills, the ability to teach as well as to mentor.  In order to achieve master black belt recognition, an individual must be an active black belt who continues to demonstrate skill through significant, positive, financial impact and customer benefits on project engagements.  The ability to teach and mentor is evaluated by reviewing the number and caliber of people they’ve developed.  Teaching may also be demonstrated in classroom environments.

Green Belt (IV-20)

Six sigma green belts are not usually in full-time process improvement positions.  Greenbelts must demonstrate proficiency with the core statistical tools by using them for positive financial impact and customer benefits on a few projects.  In some organizations, individuals may remain a greenbelt for several years.  Greenbelt operate under the supervision and guidance of a black belt or master black belt.

Executive Sponsor

Executive sponsorship is key element in an effective black belt program.  Executive leadership sets the direction and priorities for the organization.  The Executive Team is comprised of the leaders that will communicate, lead and direct the company’s overall objectives towards successful and profitable six sigma deployment.  Executives typically receive training that includes a six sigma program overview, examples of successful deployment and strategies, as well as tools and methods for definition, measurement, analysis, improvement, and control (D.M.A.I.C.)


Six sigma champions are typically upper level managers who control and allocate resources to promote process improvements and black belt development.  Champions are trained in the core concepts of six sigma and deployment strategies used by their organizations.  With this training, six sigma champions lead the implementation of the six sigma program.   Champions also work with black belts to ensure that senior management is aware of the status of six sigma deployment.  Champions ensure that resources are available for training and project completion.  They are involved in all project reviews in their area of influence.

 Process Owner

Key processes should have a process owner.  A process owner coordinates process improvement activities and monitors progress on a regular basis.  Process owners work with black belts to improve the processes for which they are responsible.  Process owners should have basic training in the core statistical tools but will typically gain proficiency only with those techniques used to improve their individual processes.  In some organizations, process owners may be six sigma champions or sponsors.

The process owner should (IV-21):

  • Be comfortable with the team’s capabilities
  • Believe in the team’s objectives
  • Support team members with resources and information
  • Share information with the team
  • Understand the team’s mission
  • Participate in Project reviews
  • Believed that personal goals are aligned with the team’s goals
  • Being knowledgeable of six sigma core elements

Six Sigma Structure (IV-21): Table 4.5 Functions in Six Sigma Organization

Steering Committee Role * (IV-22)

When an organization launches six sigma improvement initiative, the establishment of a steering committee is one of its’ first logical steps.  Usually composed of upper management, some companies may also have middle management and hourly employees represented on their steering committee.

Some of the steering committee key roles include (IV – 22):

  • Setting goals – Top management sets strategic goals with the organization.
  • Identifying projects – The steering committee selects major improvement projects.
  • Selecting teams – Once a project is identified, the steering committee appoints team to see the project through.
  • Supporting projects teams – the steering committee is responsible for ensuring improvement teams are well prepared and equipped to carry out their mission.
  • Monitoring progress – steering committee is usually responsible for keeping the improvement process on track, evaluating progress, and making mid course corrections to improve the effectiveness of the entire process.

Many companies call this steering committee for 6 cigarettes steering committee, the quality counsel, or even the executive steering committee.

Team Facilitation (IV-23)

Frequently, the facilitator is the team leader in six sigma and other team arrangements.  Nevertheless the facilitator’s role is flexible, as such, the team leader and/or facilitator must understand group dynamics and how the group moves through the developmental stages for example forming, storming, norming, and performing.

The facilitator is a useful in assisting a group in a multiplicity of ways (IV-23 in he Primer).  When there is no facilitator role present, the team leader or an assigned master black belt (coach) must assume many of the duties of the facility.

The facilitator must be flexible fair and neutral.

 The Leader Role (IV-24)

In some organizations, both the leader and facilitator roles are utilized.  Manufacturing is an industry in which this is practices.  Generally speaking, the team leader focuses on the team product (the results) and a facilitator is concerned mostly with the team’s progress.  Teams consisting of staff personnel were often have only one of these rules that’s teams consisting of staff personnel will often have only one of these roles, ordinarily it is the facilitator role.  In the six sigma environment, the team leader is frequently trained as both a facilitator and a black belt.

A List of some duties of the leader is on IV-24

leaders role is to ensure implementation of the teams mission and charter.  Facilitation and leadership requirements are diminished as capability is developed within the team (see Figure 4.6, IV-24).

 The Team Member Role

Each team member is responsible for several responsibilities (see IV-25)

  • Participating in training to become an effective team member
  • Applying the steps of the improvement process

The Recorder Role

The team recorder/secretary is normally a full-fledged team member.  The recorder maintains the teams minutes and agendas.  Team members often select the recorder, as such the recorder also coordinates the preparation of letters, reports, and other documents. (See IV-25)

The Timekeeper Role

The timekeeper is an optional role.  When there is no timekeeper the facilitator usually performs the timekeeper’s responsibility.  The timekeeper (IV-25):

  • Advises the team about the time remaining to review a project
  • In forces any time “norms” of the team


Six Sigma Roles – Audio Summary (-Click Here-)


Team Tools (IV-26)

Team tools often used in order to  help empower parties the ability to arrive at decisions and problem resolution.

Nominal Group Techniques (NGT) – (IV-26)

This technique brings people together to solve problems but limits initial interaction among them.  The concept is to prevent peer or social pressures from influencing degeneration of ideas.

 Multi-voting (IV-27)

Multi-voting is a popular way to select the most popular of potentially most important items from a previously generated list.  It’s a team environment, a list of ideas is generated by simple brainstorming.

Scholtes (1996), multi-voting is useful and consists of various steps (IV-27)

Brainstorming (IV-28)

Brainstorming is an intentionally uninhibited technique for generating creative ideas when the best solution is not obvious.  The brainstorming technique is widely used to generate ideas when using the fish-bone (cause-and-effect) diagram.

Common Team Problems

Table 4.7 (IV-29)

TEAM TOOLS Audio Summary (-Click Here-)