The Cost of Lean Six Sigma Training

Improvement Insights Blog

The Cost of Lean Six Sigma Training

Traditional Lean Six Sigma Training takes weeks when it’s possible to train people and get results in one day. Here’s why it costs so much to train people using last century strategies:

“I want to talk to you about the economics of a Six Sigma class.  All right, so as much as I hate pie charts, I’m going to use one to demonstrate this.  Let’s say you have a classroom and let’s say you have 20 odd people or something go in there.  Now, I can tell you in advance every class is filled with three types of people:  Prisoners, Vacationers and Learners. 

“The Prisoners aren’t going to do anything much with this class, right?  So probably 50% of these people are not (are NOT) going to actually do much more than “They might do a project they might not.”  They might do one project.  This is the famous “one-and-done rule” that you’ve heard so much about:  People go to these two-week and four-week belt trainings and do one project and they quit.  Well, that’s not very productive. So another probably 25% are going to do two projects (that’s a little better), and some are going to do maybe three to five, but some small group are going to do 10+.  These are the people – this is the Pareto bar you’re trying to achieve in any one of these classes.  You know, 20% of the people are going to do 80% of the results.  That’s how it works.  Now let’s talk about what it costs. 

“If you look at a Lean Six Sigma class, they spend two to four weeks in training.  That’s a lot of time.  Shockingly enough, almost nobody gives them software to do the job when they leave.  That’s like teaching somebody auto mechanics and then having them not have any tools to work on their car.  That’s kind of stupid, especially when software is so affordable nowadays. 

“Then I want you to think about this: I’ve been seeing dramatic changes in how people are starting to teach Lean and Six Sigma.  They’re doing one day (one day!) Lean Six Sigma trainings, focused on results.  You don’t get in unless you have a project to work on.  You must have a project, right?  I described how to do that in my Agile Lean Six Sigma book, all right?  This is how you hack Lean and Six Sigma to teach it in one day, and you can learn how to do this on our website for free.  I also have an Agile Trainer Training to teach you how I do this in one day if you want to learn how to do that. 

“So now we’re not investing 10 days or 20 days in training, we’re investing one day to get some results, right?  And some of these people may go on to become Green Belts and Black Belts, but you don’t know when they walk in the room who’s a Prisoner, who’s a Vacationer and who’s a Learner,  and who’s a Problem Solver who’s really going to go kick some butt with this stuff.  You know if you think about it QI Macros for 20 [users], you know that’s [just over] $4,000  to buy software for all these people… yes, some of them may not use it very much,  but they might use it more if they had it; you don’t know.  But these people are going to pay back all of it in spades just by how far they go with what they’ve got. 

“So think about changing how you approach Lean and Six Sigma training: one-day [training] driven by Agile methods, and give everybody a copy of the software.  And not the trial, give them real software so that when they walk back to their office they can actually do the job.  When you do that you’re going to start seeing magical results, and you’ll very quickly figure out who should go on and take those ten to twenty-day trainings to get more depth in the process. 

“So let’s create a hassle-free America, let’s create a hassle-free world.  Let’s go out and improve something this week.”