Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Q – What is Six Sigma?
A – Sigma is the Greek letter used by statisticians to identify a measure of variability. Six Sigma is the rigorous, structured and highly effective implementation of proven quality principles, tools and techniques. Six Sigma is accomplished by planning and executing projects that align resources with strategically important projects to bring tangible results to the bottom line. Six Sigma professionals use a well-defined problem-solving model to improve the performance of processes to a virtually error-free level that results in increased customer satisfaction, higher quality and lower costs. The tools and techniques of Six Sigma are integrated into an intensive training regimen that focuses on practical application and measurable results.
Q – Why should I choose Key Performance for my Six Sigma Certification Training?
A – Six Sigma is implemented by planning and executing projects. Key Performance LLC is first and foremost a project management training organization, and you will learn from highly qualified instructors who are Project Management Professionals (PMP’s) as well as Six Sigma Master Black Belts. Our programs offer open enrollment, are available to individuals who are not currently employed in an organization that is involved with Six Sigma, and feature small class sizes. Our programs focus on real-world application as opposed to mathematical and statistical theory.
If you are already certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI), or hold one of the other PMI certifications, you will earn Professional Development Units (PDU’s) for our courses. Key Performance is a Registered Education Provider (REP) with PMI and our Six Sigma courses have been approved for PDU’s.
Q – How will Six Sigma help me to manage projects better?
A – The skills and knowledge that you gain will help you to do a better job of defining customer needs in measurable terms, linking your projects to business strategy, quantifying the bottom-line benefits of your project, and sustaining the gains after your project is turned over to ongoing operations. You will improve your ability to make decisions using facts and data, solve problems, and think in terms what adds value to business processes.
Q – How was the curriculum for each course developed?
A – Our curriculum was developed after a great deal of thought and study, and is based on a benchmarking study conducted by Key Performance LLC of a number of leading programs worldwide. Our curriculum is aligned with the recommendations of both the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and the International Society of Six Sigma Professionals (ISSSP), and seamlessly integrates Six Sigma, Project Management, and Lean Enterprise improvement methodologies. Our curriculum focuses on service and information systems/information technology business processes as well as manufacturing processes, and examples from both types of businesses are included. The Project Management portions of our curriculum are aligned with A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Sixth Edition as published by the Project Management Institute. The curriculum stresses the connection between project management and Six Sigma, and how project managers can and will be more successful when using the Six Sigma approach and Six Sigma tools and techniques.
Q – What is the difference between lean and Six Sigma?
A – Lean is an improvement methodology that focuses on identifying and eliminating waste. The tools and techniques in lean focus primarily on improving the flow of a process. Six Sigma is an improvement methodology that focuses on reducing variation in the output of a process, making the output more of what the customer wants and thus reducing the number of defects.
Lean is a term that was coined in a book that was written in 1990 about the automotive industry called The Machine That Changed the World. Lean is in fact the Toyota Production System (TPS), development of which began at the end of World War II. Not much was widely known about the TPS in this country until the late 1980’s. Six Sigma was developed at Motorola and became widely became known in the 1980’s. Both lean and Six Sigma are problem solving approaches and both share many common problem solving tools. None of the tools used are really unique to either methodology.
Our programs incorporate a blend of Six Sigma and lean. They include virtually all of the topics that are recommended by the American Society of Quality and the International Society of Six Sigma professionals for Six Sigma certification, as well as numerous lean topics. Our students have the option of Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma on their certificates and students overwhelmingly choose Lean Six Sigma.
Q – How do lean and Six Sigma compare to business process improvement in general?
A – Business Process Improvement is a very broad umbrella. Any systematic approach to helping an organization achieve better results by changing its processes could be considered Business Process Improvement. Lean and Six Sigma are two such structured approaches.
All business process improvement methodologies have common characteristics such as selecting appropriate metrics, mapping the current state of the process, collecting facts and data about what factors influence the output of the process, analyzing the data to find the root cause of problems, selecting an improvement solution that addresses the root cause, and putting controls in place to sustain the gains.
Industry Week did a study of 3,000 or so companies several years ago and found that it was not terribly important which improvement methodology was used, as long as an organization picked one and stuck with it. The top two choices were lean and Six Sigma. An analogy is exercise. It is not so important which method you use (running, swimming, walking, biking) but rather that you pick one or more of them and do them regularly.
Q – Isn’t Six Sigma just for manufacturing operations?
A – No. Six Sigma is used in all types of service oriented and transactional process environments as well as in manufacturing. Our courses include examples and exercises that address service and information technology related processes as well as manufacturing processes.
Q – What’s in it for me to get certified?
A – Six Sigma certification is a widely recognized and highly prized credential in the marketplace. In addition, you can expect to be more successful in your current position by achieving better results personally, and by calling attention to ways in which your organization can improve in a broader sense. The knowledge that you gain will increase your expert power in any organization and make you a more valuable employee. Individuals choose to pursue Six Sigma Certification for the following reasons:
- Career advancement
- Personal growth
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
- Increased level of job performance
- Improved marketability
Q – Why should my organization support Six Sigma certification?
A – Organizations will realize the following benefits from having their employees Six Sigma certified:
- Implementation of an improvement framework with proven tools
- Improvement of your most important asset, your employees
- Achievement of organizational excellence in business process improvement
- Excellent Return on Investment – 10 to one or greater return on your training dollars
Q – What if I am not part of an organization that currently uses Six Sigma?
A – You are welcome to enter our open enrollment courses. In the case of the Black Belt certification, we will make sure that you have an opportunity to work on a project that will allow you to demonstrate your skills and earn your certificate. Individuals who are not currently employed may complete a project for a charity, a house of worship, an agency in their community such as a youth sports league, or any number of other opportunities.
Q – How are the online courses delivered?
A – You will have full access to the course content for the scheduled duration of each course. You can study at your own pace and on your own schedule as long as you are making regular, weekly progress toward completing the course within the allowed time frame. Your instructor is available on an ongoing basis for guidance, discussions and to give you feedback on your course work throughout the duration of the course. The textbook for the course will be mailed to you before the start date of the course.
Q – What happens if I don’t complete an online course within the required time frame?
A – Your tuition will be forfeited if an online course is not completed within the allowed time frame, unless prior arrangements are made with the course instructor. Students are required to remain active on a regular weekly basis, either by posting in the BlackBoard system or by communicating with the course instructor in some other fashion. If tuition is forfeited and you wish to re-enroll for the course, you will be charged the full amount less the cost of the textbook(s).
Q – May I take the Black Belt training course but not complete a project?
A – Yes, however at the end of the course you will receive evidence of completion of the training course, but you will not be certified as a Black Belt. It would be possible for you to become certified at a later date by satisfactorily completing a project.
Q – What topics are included in each course?
A – Please refer to the following list of topics for our Six Sigma courses.