How many full-time members are recommended for Six Sigma project teams?

Six Sigma Project Team Meeting

Launching a Six Sigma project can be daunting.  Even an experienced practitioner can get overwhelmed if the project isn’t designed correctly from the onset.  Determining how to allocate human resources to a project can be difficult when you aren’t sure of the project’s scope.  Fortunately, there is a tool that is fundamental to the success of a project, the Project Charter.

It all starts with the Six Sigma Champion.  This is usually the person who is initiating the Six Sigma project and will act as a go-between for the project and senior leadership.  A project will only have one champion.  This person initiates the project and will assist in determining who the project Black Belt will be.

Organizing the Six Sigma Project Team

Once the project champion and company stakeholders have determined who the Six Sigma Black belt will be, they can work together to determine the team makeup.

How Many Six Sigma Master Black Belts?

Many projects operate without a Master Black Belt.  This position is typically reserved for large projects or organizations with multiple projects running simultaneously.  A Master Black Belts role is to verse multiple projects and provide guidance to the Black Belts running those projects.  This person should always be your most experienced Six Sigma practitioner.  When this role is utilized, it is common for the company to bring in an outside consultant to fill the position.

How Many Six Sigma Black Belts?

Most projects have only one (1) Six Sigma Black Belt.  The Black Belt leads the process improvement initiatives, sets the scope of the project, and executes many of the improvement tactics.  They work with the head of each department to ensure improvements are correctly implemented and work through each stage of the DMAIC.  This person should always hold a Six Sigma Black Belt Certification and have at least some existing experience with running a project.

How Many Six Sigma Green Belts?

The Six Sigma Green Belt role is where the number of members starts to vary.  For a medium-sized company, projects will often have 6-12 members functioning full-time.  These are usually existing employees who have been pulled from their regular job roles to act as project Green Belts.

The number of Certified Six Sigma Green Belt’s will vary based on several factors.

  • How many issues is the project trying to resolve?
  • How many departments are involved in the improvement project?
  • How many employees can temporarily leave their current position to dedicate their full-time efforts to a project?

How Many Six Sigma Yellow Belts?

Most project members at the Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification level are part-time project participants.  Since Yellow Belts act as subject-matter experts in their existing job role there is very little need for them to switch to a full-time project position.  Yellow Belts work with Green Belts to analyze existing processes and find ways to improve them.

How Many Six Sigma White Belts?

Most organizations don’t consider having Six Sigma White Belt certification training, so seeing it listed here may be a surprise.  Everyone in the organization must understand the reason for the Six Sigma project and its goals.  Failure to explain the project’s goal can often lead to miscommunication within the company.  This can cause unfounded fears in employees, such as the potential for downsizing.

Recommended Number of Full-Time Six Sigma Project Members:

  • Master Black Belt:  0-1
  • Black Belt:  1-3
  • Green Belt:  6-12 (Varies on the number of departments within the organization).
  • Yellow Belt:  15-30+ part-time, full-time members will vary.  (Varies based on the number of employees, business locations, and departments within an organization.
  • White Belt: Everyone within the organization should be certified at the Six Sigma White Belt level.


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