Six Sigma Organization


Under a Six Sigma program, members of an organization are assigned specific roles to play, each with a title. This highly structured format is necessary in order to implement Six Sigma throughout the organization.

There are seven specific responsibilities or "role areas" in the Six Sigma program. These are:


A leadership team or council defines the goals and objectives in the Six Sigma process. Just as a corporate leader sets a tone and course to achieve an objective, the Six Sigma council sets out the goals to be met by the team. Here is the list of leadership Council Responsibilities,

  • Define the purpose the Six Sigma Program.

  • Explain how the result is going to benefit the customer.

  • Set a schedule for work and interim deadlines.

  • Develop a means for review and oversight.

  • Support team members and defend established positions.


Six Sigma sponsor are high-level individuals who understand Six Sigma and are committed to its success. The individual in the sponsor role acts as a problem solver for the ongoing Six Sigma project. Six Sigma will be lead by a full-time, high-level champion, such as an Executive Vice President.

Sponsors are owners of processes and systems who help initiate and coordinate Six Sigma improvement activities in their areas of responsibilities.

Implementation leader:

The person responsible for supervising the Six Sigma team effort, who supports the leadership council by ensuring that the work of the team is completed in the desired manner.

Implementation leader ensuring success of the implementation plan and solving problems as they arise, training as needed, and assisting sponsors in motivating the team.


The Six Sigma expert or consultant who sets a schedule, defines results of a project, and who mediates conflicts or deals with resistance to the program.

Duties include working as go-between for sponsor and leadership, scheduling the work of the team, identifying and defining desired results of the project, mediating disagreements, conflicts, and resistance to the program and identifying success as it occurs.

Team leader:

The individual responsible for overseeing the work of the team and for acting as go-between with the sponsor and the team members.

Responsibilities include communication with the sponsor in defining project goals and rationale, picking and assisting team members and other resources, keeping the project on schedule, and keeping track of steps in the process as they are completed.

Team member:

An employee who works on a Six Sigma project, given specific duties within a project, and deadlines to meet in reaching specific project goals.

The team members execute specific Six Sigma assignments and work with other members of the team within a defined project schedule, to reach specifically identified goals.

Process owner:

The individual who takes on responsibility for a process after a Six Sigma team has completed its work.

Extended Definitions of Roles - Belt Colors

Many labels have evolved over the years that Six Sigma has been in use. The assignment of belt colors to various roles is derived from the obvious source, martial arts. Based on experience and expertese following roles have evolved.

NOTE: The belt names are one tool for defining levels of expertise and experience. They do not change or replace the organizational roles in the Six Sigma process.

1. Black Belt:

The person possessing this belt has achieved the highest skill level and is an experienced expert in various techniques. As applied to the Six Sigma program, the individual designated as a Black Belt will have completed a thorough internal training program and have experienced work on several projects.

The black belt holder is usually given the role of team leader, the person who is responsible for execution and scheduling.

2. Master Black Belt:

A person who is available to consult with the team or its leadership but who is not a direct member of the team itself. This may be the equivalent of the role played by the coach, or for more technical and complex projects.

The Master Black Belt is available to answer procedural questions and to resolve the technical issues that come up.

3. Green Belt:

The Green Belt designation can also belong to the team leader or to a member of the team working directly with the team leader.

A Green belt is less experienced than the Black Belt but is cast in a key role within the team.