As a Project Manager seeking professional accreditation in Lean Six Sigma, what factors should I consider when evaluating institutions, trainers and certifications?

On top of a list of things to look for, would an employer recognize a specific institute more than another?

  • how does this represent a practical problem in project management?
    – MCW
    Mar 23 '17 at 10:15
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    I have made more relevant with an edit. I think it is on topic and has value to Project Management. Mar 23 '17 at 10:35

There are some levels of Six Sigma:

  • Green belt - foundation level in Six sigma. I suppose you are taking first level of Six Sigma, so you are looking for Green belt certification.
  • Black belt
  • Master black belt

For each belt, all most all the Six sigma institute will provide you the 5-6 days classroom training and one written exam for certification. In 5-6 days training it is not possible to attain the perfection. As a result, you need to learn & prepare mostly by yourself. But when coming to class, try to learn with trainers who have real, practical experience in Six Sigma.

So, here are some criteria to choose Institute to take course:

  1. The organization's background+ course curriculum and the capabilities for the course
  2. Faculty profile (VERY IMPORTANT – I will explain below)

There is no point in learning a subject like Six Sigma from a person who doesn't have practical experience of implementation. Even from the very well-known service providers for Six Sigma training, some trainers are also in the "learning mode". After all, these companies are also commercial organizations and they also need to train their own trainers. There is no harm in them doing this but all the time, this is done at the cost of the participants.

The trainer is more important than the training company. Some criteria to choose a trainer:

  1. Projects & Achievement. If his projects are similar to yours, it’s good news.
  2. Years of applying Six Sigma

Following are some famous Institutes that you should check out, together with price for Green belt:

  1. ASQ (Price : ASQ MEMBERS $288 | NON-MEMBERS $438 | RETAKES $238)
  2. Vskills (Govt Certification ) (Price : 4,500)
  3. KPMG (Price : 23,000). (KPMG provides training programs in Lean Six Sigma and recognized by 154 countries)
  4. Indian Statistical Institute (Price : 9,776 )
  5. Simplilearn (Price : 12,999)
  6. Getcertgo (Price : 26,000)
  7. BSI group (Price : 28,000)

My last advice: Learning by doing is the best way of gaining/enhancing knowledge. Merely completing the certification might not increase your career opportunities but the methodology will change the way you think and execute. It gives different perspective/view to the process you are working and instills quality mindset in you.

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    Thank you for taking the time to answer. I first found institutes that provide a one year long training to become black belt (classes are once a week in a classroom) for around 1,000 USD. Would you rather recommend taking the green belt and letting a few months/years pass before go for the black belt?
    – Aki
    Mar 24 '17 at 5:54
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    I definitely vote for slower approach. We need time to learn and practice, otherwise knowledge will slip off our mind :D. Taking green belt first, taking some time to practice and see how it goes is good idea. Like you are doing "sprints" in Scrum and you are also the Product Owner to adjust your own plan :)
    – grandagile
    Mar 24 '17 at 5:58
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    I would add - don't be afraid of self-directed learning from books, case studies and practitioners. Grab some books from Amazon and trawl some PDF case studies on Google. Mar 24 '17 at 10:42

For the most part I don't feel like employers recognize one six sigma certification over another. Most people who work in Quality Standards get certified through their employer and those employers usually bring in an outside firm anyway. Half of those people aren't even sure who they got their certification through, they just say "through work".

There is also a difference between Training and Certification. Thomas is spot-on about the training aspect. Learning from someone who has actually performed six sigma projects is going to get you the best learning result.

If you're just talking about the certification then you have a lot of options. Of course ASQ is the certification everyone wants because they are the most recognizable, but it's also hard to get. You can also go with companies like the Management and Strategy Institute or Lynda.com to get the certification directly.

Also regarding your other comment about getting certified in-order. I would recommend it. Most people seem to say you don't need to get certified in all of the belts but my experience is that if you don't have the Green Belt it's not received well.

  • Thanks for your answer. Unfortunately my company is not keen in training their staff and I would like to move to another job strong of my hands on experience + added certification. I need to take it by myself and will probably go through ASQ. As for taking them in order, people seem to think the green belt is quite easy to get and not so useful per se. But I guess it's how it is and we need to get them in order anyway.
    – Aki
    Jun 27 '17 at 12:49

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