We train Green Belts to systematically work with methods and tools, to improve complex processes, to solve sophisticated problems and for driving a culture of data- & facts-based decision taking. This training is a great enabler for leadership roles.
It is more than one method you need, to tackle a “Green Belt Project” and when starting, it is not clear which sequence of methods to use. Any company faces this type of problems and challenges. And therefore, we train Green Belts: They are the ones who will work systematically, picking techniques from a proven and powerful toolbox. It is not sufficient to just know the approach and the tools, it is important to gain experience in applying these. This builds the foundation for practical competence. Accordingly, all Green Belts need to lead a Green Belt project in parallel to their training. They will be sent on the mission to apply the tools (hard stuff), with the teams they don’t formally manage (soft stuff). Running the projects in parallel with the training enables advice and support to learn and to experience.
So, what makes a good Green Belt project?
It is about selecting a topic which requires application of several methods & tools. From this, we can derive the following criteria for selection:
- The solution for our problem is opaque. To this problem or to this challenge it is NOT evident, what the solution will be. It is NOT just about implementing a solution. It is more a feeling of : “We have no clue how to solve this problem? We understand the challenge, we do not know how to get it tackled.”
- The problem / the situation first needs some further investigation. Some of the analytical Lean Six Sigma tools will be required.
We want to accompany our trainees and support them in achieving results and being successful. Green Belts should be able to oversee what they are doing and learn about the deliverables of applying methods. Let’s consider the following when selecting the project:
- It should be possible to complete the project within 3 months.
It means implementation of improvements should be possible within three months. The last phase of a Green Belt Project is always the Control phase, where we must prove that the results are sustainable. This phase may exceed these 3 months.
Your project idea will definitely take longer? Then, scope it down.
Green Belts focus on process improvement. If we look into processes that do not cycle often, e.g. annual accounts, or. a product we produce only once a year, it is impossible to develop and prove a solution within 3 months.
- Thus, it is important that the process in focus cycles often.
So far, we have considered what ensures great learning in the project. Even more important from our experience is to select projects according to business needs. Starting with a Green Belt project we want to show to the organization as well as to our trainees that Lean Six Sigma is an effective approach to master problems. NOT a nice to have toolkit to play around with non-relevant problems. Our advice is to
- Select projects crucial for the organization addressing a clearly defined relevant business issue.
- Select problems which need to be tackled regardless of the Green Belt program.
This will also contribute to avoiding that in the middle of the project priorities change, the Green Belt’s working time is urgently required for something else and nobody is fundamentally interested in making sure this project gets completed.
- The project sponsor must be committed to project success.
We have a great track record of successful Green Belt projects where project success was well aligned with the sponsor’s goals.
Doing so, everything is set-up very well for your Green Belt projects. Anyhow, we are still in real life: Priorities can always change for good reason. And often new discoveries coming from the project lead to a need to rethink the project definition. Our approach and the Lean Six Sigma Toolbox will help to also master the change and redefine the Green Belt project.
Good luck with your Green Belt Projects and have fun! Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss a specific challenge!
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