Six Sigma Certification - Bolster Your Credentials

Many PMPs want to further distinguish themselves by adding the Six Sigma credential to their toolset. But what is Six Sigma all about, and how does Six Sigma certification work?

Six Sigma definitions vary a bit, but they all involve the concept of quality. All at once, Six Sigma is a philosophy, a set of tools, and a methodology. See Differing Opinions on the definition of Six Sigma for more detail on this.

In a very formal Six Sigma organization, there are multiple levels of participants: Black Belt, Green Belt, Master Black Belt, Yellow Belt, White Belt, and Champions and Executives. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) provides basic descriptions of these roles in the page "Belts, Executives and Champions - What Does It all Mean?".

However, there are 2 basic certification levels: Green Belt and Black Belt. The American Society for Quality is the leading authority in the quality field, but there are multiple organizations that provide training and give their own certification, which stands on their reputation and on recognition of the name 'Six Sigma'.

The Green Belt certification is the entry level certification for the field. The Green Belt analyzes and solves quality problems and is involved in quality improvement projects, and in a formal sense works under the supervision of a Black Belt. The Green Belt certification is based on the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge (BOK), and knowledge areas required and covered in the ASQ test are outlined in a description of the Six Sigma BOK. Applicants for the test are required to have 3 years of experience within this BOK. See ASQ's Green Belt certification for further details.

The Black Belt certification is the advanced level Six Sigma certification. Black Belts have a greater depth of knowledge of all aspects of the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) and other process models of Six Sigma. In addition, Black Belts must be able to handle leadership roles in the context of projects. The Black Belt certification requires that you complete at least two Six Sigma projects and submit a project affidavit for one. Knowledge required can be found in the summary of the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge. You may also want to check out the full Black Belt Body of Knowledge download. See ASQ's Black Belt Certification for further details.

For more informative articles around the project management field, see the PMcrunch web site. PMcrunch provides fresh prospectives on the world of project management in the areas of Certification, Online Project Management, Project Management Process, Project Management Templates, and Soft Skills.

Author John Reiling has written many articles on PMcrunch, and in addition to PMcrunch, runs Project Management Training Online and Lean Six Sigma Training Online.