15 Things a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Should Know

We’re sometimes asked – what sort of things should a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt should know how to do – it’s a great question because as with Green Belt there is A LOT of variation in the training available out there.

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt courses focus on basics.

Generally, Yellow Belt training will focus on the basics of the Lean Six Sigma method however, some courses may move more into the technical elements of the method than others. Ideally, though a yellow belt should have a basic grasp of how to go about improving and be able to perform as part of a team and that’s why we believe that overloading with technical skills such as hypothesis testing and complex improvement skills is not gearing up to undertake the role that a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt will probably be looking to undertake.

We’ve constructed a minimum set of skills below that we feel are right for someone achieving a Yellow Belt level of certification – here they are in no particular order of importance:

1Key ConceptsUnderstanding of where Lean Six Sigma came from and how it applies to your industry sector
2Project ScopingNot understanding the problem is where many improvement projects fall over. All Yellow Belts should be able to write a great problem statement for a localized team based problem
3SIPOCThis is a critical tool for any Yellow Belt to help understand the scope
4Voice of the CustomerConsider and utilize different ways of developing an understanding from a customer perspective. Often with Yellow Belts this can be an internal customer
58 WastesThese are the things Yellow belts will be looking for within their chosen process area so they will need to be able to recognize them
6Value Stream Mapping & Process MappingProcess maps are terrific for visualizing a process – Yellow belts should be able to use some of the basic methods here
7Key MetricsMetrics and measurements is a huge category of learning and at Yellow belt you’ll need to dip your toe in the water. What makes a good measure?
8Basic Charts & AnalysisControl Chart, Pareto, Histograms, Scatter Plots are all required knowledge
9FlowBasic principles of flow, including understanding the positive and negative of batching vs single piece flow
10Value Adding AnalysesYellow belts will need to be able to identify non-value add activities in their processes so they can start to challenge these steps.
11Root Cause AnalysisCause and Effect diagram and/or 5 Whys are the basic Yellow belt requirement here – there will also be some of the basic graphical tools to help take us from hunch to fact
12Error ProofingUnderstand the concept of error proofing with practical examples of it in use
135SUnderstand the 5 terms associated with this tool along with their meanings and how to implement effectively in the workplace
14Visual ManagementVisual Cards (Kanban), Signal Alerts (Andon) and Display Boards are one of the key techniques for making work visible
15Standard Operating ProceduresA staple of controlling and standardizing performance – yellow belts may be involved in writing these and so they will need to know what makes up a good SOP

Our Yellow belt training uses an active learning simulation (with Lego) to help the learner understand how to use the tools and techniques to solve a flow problem. We also use group and individual exercises to embed the learning of all the above.

Ideal for middle managers

The skills developed on a Yellow belt course sit perfectly with the role of middle managers. By this, I’m talking about team managers or ops managers. That’s because they won’t be using these skills all the time but when they need them they will be able to pull them out and solve problems that previously were left unresolved or papered over.

That’s because they will only learn the skills required and none of the elements that they don’t need for the environment they are in. This helps the learners to soak in all the delivered content across 2 or 3 days and quickly start to apply it back in the workplace. If you are looking for development or want to develop your staff then Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt may be the way to go.

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