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Master Black Belts And The Art Of Managing A Project

Aug 17, 2007
Ideally speaking, a Master Black Belt is a college graduate or post-grad with an MBA. This is not to suggest that the powerful ways of business process management will remain elusive for others but the complex art of combining Six Sigma with business process management takes longer to master in the absence such formal training.

Basic Responsibilities

Managing projects begins with selecting greater impacting projects, selecting and training Black Belts and Green Belts. This immediately implies that a Master Black Belt is deemed an expert in quality matters, manufacturing or service process, Six Sigma statistical tools, analysis, nuances of project management and above all, a leader and a mature person who can draw on a wealth of experiences. You can see this from their ability to manage the brilliant Black Belts.

How Do Master Black Belts Manage Projects?

Having set a high-impacting project in motion with the necessary initial preparations like putting in place the team of Black Belts and Green Belts and documenting the course for the project to follow, what follows next is perhaps the most crucial role expected of Master Black Belts. Here is where a Master Black Belt can make a difference to a project single- handedly:

1. Keeping the motivation and knowledge levels of Black Belts and Green Belts high through constantly upgraded training. Training facilitates for the Belts to use the latest technologies and adjust to changes in addition to reinvigorate the rest of the team.

2. Checking and maintaining the correctness of measurements, which is the key to the success of a project. Misrepresentations by design (although rarely) or by mistake needs to be corrected before they change the course of the project and wreak havoc.

3. Handling problematic issues that are beyond the scope of other Black Belts.

In a nutshell, Master Black Belts execute projects using manpower, infrastructural and automated resources by defined allocation of responsibilities with checks and balances in place.

The ensuing step forward for Master Black Belts is the analysis of process response to changes/modifications through regular audits for continuous process improvement. The Master Black Belt is expected to be alert to innocuous but inadvertent deviations to metrics from the predefined standards that could potentially lead the project to go awry.

Thinking Six Sigma without strong management abilities is difficult, by any standards. The strength of Six Sigma, in its data generation and statistical tools of analysis is used to its fullest by a Master Black Belt. But maximizing the benefits of analytical results, however small the problem or the opportunity, lies in the change that the Master Black Belt can actually engineer throughout the course of the project implementation.

Managerial responsibilities of Master Black Belts include:

1. Ensuring of auto piloting of processes by timely facilitation and intervention with tools, expertise and functional positions

2. Ensuring project completion by steering through ineffective initiatives

3. Backing up other Belts to ensure they succeed; this is the essence of a successful project

In short, A Master Black Belt is a dependable professional, capable of running a project from conception to completion, despite the many obstacles that present themselves.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta
Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online href="http://www.sixsigmaonline.org">six sigma training and certification
classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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