Here are my observations based on not just training a few hundred Six Sigma Green Belts across different demographics of geography, industry and age group, but also having mentored them for few months after the training:
- Retention of a subject like Six Sigma is much less than soft-skills or technical training like software languages.
- Ability of Green Belts to relate the application of six sigma concepts to their line of business is quite lesser than soft-skills like team work, time management, negotiation skills, etc.
Here are the 10 things according to me that Six Sigma Green Belts forget within just 10 -days of attending a training program, implying nearly zero retention:
- Project Charter: How to a write a business case that convinces the management? And also differentiate it from Problem Statement.
- Fish-Bone: What to do after completing a Fish-Bone diagram? Of course, collect data but on what factors?
- Gage R&R: Conduct an live Gage R&R study (at least Discrete data).
- Sampling: Choosing a sampling scheme and deciding the sample size for data collection.
- Descriptive Statistics: Meaningful and practical interpretation of ‘Standard Deviation’. If there is a process with Standard Deviation of 5 minutes, what does this number mean in real sense?
- P-value: What does it mean to the business to accept or reject a hypothesis based on P value?
- Variation: Identify the major sources of variation that impact a project metric?
- Regression: How to use the regression equation to operate the business efficiently.
- Control Chart: Explain to a layman (probably a Manager) what an out-of-control data point means in practical sense.
- Sustenance: How to make sure the project exists after a year. I don’t mean the project deck! Many times, it is considered that sustenance is not in our hands, but actually it is a skill that can be acquired and needs to be taught to all Green Belts.
One of the primary reasons, why Green Belts can’t retain these 10 things, is because most of all this is taught in less than a week with little time for things to settle in, and for the participants to relate.
One of the solutions, that works well for me as a coach, is to limit the class size to 2 or 3 and spread the program over 60 days. I actually found best results during my one-on-one training sessions!
Return-on-Investment of such executive development programs are at most important and so the business & career benefits recoups these investments.
My note will be incomplete if I don’t mention about few things that Six Sigma Green Belt retain very well after the training, even for several years:
· How to do Fish-Bone Diagram?
· How to play the Gage R&R game?
· Remember and recite the phrase “P is low, Null must go”
· How to map the process?
· What is Value Add, and Non-Value Add?