Six Sigma Dogma

Improvement Insights Blog

Six Sigma Dogma

When I started in quality improvement, everyone preached Total Quality Management (TQM). Before that it was quality circles. I’d like you to consider that the gospel of Six Sigma is holding back progress. Here’s why:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma Demystified” and the QI Macros [software].

“The other day I was [presenting] a webinar for one of the ASQ sections; I’ve been doing Agile Lean Six Sigma webinars for the Agile sections that want something to do during this pandemic. One of the guys said, “Well, you’re sort of telling me that that we don’t need Green Belts and Black Belts to do a project. You don’t have to have one of those two belts to do a project,” because I was talking about how [with] Yellow Belt training you could do that in a day and get results.

“They were (he was) kind of freaked out by that. I’m going to suggest to you that this… we’ve been immersed in this Six Sigma dogma that somebody dreamed up. Right? Michael Harry at Motorola, they came up with the whole Six Sigma and the belting thing, and [the question is] how much did you learn?

“Guess what? I don’t believe that you need a belt of any color to start solving problems, you just need to know what I call “the magnificent seven tools,” have software like QI Macros to help you do the data mining, drill down and get into stuff and you can start making improvements right away. I don’t think you have to be an expert. I don’t think you have to spend years in training and months in projects. I don’t think it’s necessary.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Start using the Tools of Quality. Save time, save money, save lives, and I don’t care what color belt you have, even the master senseis go back to wearing a White Belt because they go back to being a learner. They get over their “Black Beltness” and they just start going back to the White Belt of the learner.

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go out and improve something.”