Institute of Six Sigma Professional Standards

Yellow Belt

The ISSP define a Yellow Belt as an individual who has a good understanding of Six Sigma; it is general awareness that is useful for those who are not directly involved but will be supporting, sponsoring and resourcing Six Sigma projects. Yellow Belt qualified individuals should understand the following:

  • The principles and importance of business improvement.
  • The DMAIC process as an improvement and project management model and the key activities required for each stage.
  • The importance of determining the “voice of the customer” and defining “value” in terms of customer requirements.
  • The basics of measuring and analysing performance, through key performance indicators and simple statistics.
  • The identification and evaluation of solutions.
  • The best methods to established ongoing process control and improvement through Standardisation.

A typical Yellow Belt programme: Study time: 1-2 days, with no formal assessment.

Green Belt

The ISSP define a Green Belt qualified individual as someone who is able to solve technical and challenging problems through the Six Sigma method. Individuals will be able to understand:

  • The principles of Six Sigma and how it can be used as a powerful business improvement tool.
  • The tools and techniques needed to analyse a value chain, and subsequent process maps.
  • How to use the 7 Quality Tools to challenge and improve the status quo.
  • The concepts needed to make change stick.
  • The power of software to simulate processes and improvement opportunities.
  • Basic well known Six Sigma statistical tools such as hypothesis testing, linear regression and simple full factorial design of experiments (DoE).

A typical Green Belt programme: Study time: 5 – 8 days in the class room, plus a minimum of 3 support and mentoring days from a Black Belt. Assessment would be through a project, lasting no more than 3 months and deliver significant business improvement.

Both Yellow Belt and Green Belt trained individuals are entitled to join the Institute of Six Sigma Professionals (ISSP) as a Member.

Black Belt

A qualified Black Belt, as defined by ISSP, will not only know the topics listed above and be able to apply Six Sigma, but will also be able to manipulate the methods in order to be successful in different circumstances. Individuals with this level of knowledge will be able to select the most appropriate method depending on the situation. They will be able to generate innovative and creative ways to solve complex challenges. Specifically they will need to understand everything at Green Belt standard, and:

  • The DMAIC process and Six Sigma overview.
  • Project selection & management.
  • Defining the problem.
  • Voice of the customer, with stakeholder analysis.
  • Advanced process mapping, X’s & Y’s, C/E matrix and basic statistics.
  • Use statistical software such as Minitab.
  • Data collection & sampling strategies.
  • Advanced process capability studies, non normal capability studies, DPMO/PPM/Yield and Z scores.
  • Measurement systems analysis, Gauge R&R, bias and linearity.
  • Measuring the cost of poor quality.
  • Hypothesis testing – normal and non-normal, continuous and discrete data.
  • Confidence intervals, correlation, non linear regression and non linear regression analysis and modelling.
  • Multi-variance studies.
  • Advanced DoE techniques, including Reverse DoE.
  • Evolutionary Operation and Response Surface Methodology.
  • FMEA, Force Field Analysis, JIT and Lean Thinking.
  • Mistake Proofing.
  • Advance process stability and control charting.
  • Statistical process control/Non normal SPC charting.

A typical Black Belt programme: Study time: 20 – 25 days in the class room, plus a minimum of 6 support and mentoring days from a Master Black Belt. Assessment would be through a minimum of 2 strategically important projects, each lasting no more than 6 months and delivering significant business improvement.

Individuals who meet the above criteria may apply to become a Professional member of the Institute of Six Sigma Professionals after passing an online exam with a minimum mark of 80% and providing a
portfolio of evidence to the ISSP accreditation unit. If a potential member has been on a Black Belt course but not within ISSP standards, they will be asked to complete a CPD programme to meet the requirements before they are granted Professional status.

Master Black Belt

The final level of Six Sigma is a Master Black Belt. ISSP characterises this as an individual who, after gaining Black Belt status, has:
Evidence of continuous personal development. They should be able to show they have had at least two years experience of continuous project work. They should also be seen to be attending conferences and seminars to continually develop their skills within the Six Sigma field.

  • Mentored and supported Yellow, Green and Black Belts within their organisations and/or consultancy projects.
  • Been involved with the training, or at least the steering of training, of lower levels.
  • Have significant sector experience within their chosen field.

In order to become a Fellow of the Institute of Six Sigma Professionals, an individual must go through the ISSP Accreditation Unit. They will need to prove they have developed a discipline and practice in the field, and pushed boundaries within Six Sigma. Essentially, they should be “ambassadors” for the subject within their sector or organisation, for example, written articles or books, given speeches etc. They should also be able to provide a Personal Development Record proving their knowledge, achievements and improvements over many years. They will have to pass an online exam as part of their professional accreditation, with a minimum mark of 80% and provide a portfolio of evidence.

Professionals and Fellows of the Institute will receive formal awards accredited by the ISSP and will therefore require formal application to the accreditation unit.