Six Sigma Teams


The most effective six sigma teams are comprised of qualified people with the right expertise.

Team Member Roles

  • Team Leader: responsible for getting the team to go. Sometimes a facilitator. Sometimes the project manager.
  • Facilitator: usually a black belt or master black belt. A coach.
  • Scribe: records the team activities.
  • Sponsor: business leader who sponsors the six sigma engagement. Most likely to set the project objectives, obtain resources for the team, and be a liaison between the team and senior management.
  • Champion: executive who sponsors a specific Six Sigma project and makes sure that  resources are available. Resolves any cross-functional team issues. (Sometimes this is the same as the sponsor. Different companies sometimes have different titles.)
  • Six Sigma Leader: executive who is responsible for six sigma culture in the company.
  • Process Owner: Professional responsible for the business process that is the target of a Six Sigma project.
  • Team member: professional who brings relevant experience or expertise to a particular project.
  • Gatekeeper: Sometimes filled by all of the above roles.
  • Also see Six Sigma Roles and Responsibilities.

Team Make Up

There are many different types of Six sigma teams. See Types of Six Sigma Teams.

Team Dynamics and Mechanics

Regardless of the makeup of the team, team dynamics and mechanics are more important than individual rank. See Team Dynamics and Mechanics.

Also See

Stages of Team Growth

Team Conflict Prevention & Resolution

Team Performance

Why Teams Fail

•Examine the five reasons project teams fail

The number one reason project teams fail is poor team dynamics.

•Discuss the difference between process and content

•Discuss the importance of an agenda and assigning roles and responsibilities

•Define a parking lot

•Understand the importance of ground rules

•Understand the importance of providing feedback

Poorly-functioning teams

-members act independently without inter-dependency
-have poor team mechanics
-poor communication
-displays a lot of conflict

High-performing teams

Good Team Members
-Don’t miss meetings
-Encourage participation by all.
-Objectives are realistic
-Objectives are jointly-agreed upon and met
-Team members listen to each other
-Team members can distinguish between fact and opinions
-Team members can act both inter-dependently and independently.
-Have the support of management
-Have good team mechanics
-Believe in the team process. eg teams multiply the efforts & abilities of the individual into a force greater than the sum of it’s individual members.
-Work to achieve & build consensus
-Have good conflict resolution practices


Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Six Sigma Teams Questions:

Question: The process of having a six sigma team develop a problem statement helps the team: (Taken from ASQ sample Black Belt exam.)

(A) agree on key dates associated with completing major project phases
(B) achieve consensus and ownership of the process
(C) determine solutions
(D) determine how often it should meet

Answer: (b)  Achieve consensus and ownership of the problem. Remember the part that a problem statement plays in the project charter. It focuses the project on what exactly you will be attacking. The when and how reflected in options a, c, and d come later.

Question: Typically, which of the following activities is done earliest in the formation of a project team? (Taken from ASQ sample Black Belt exam.)

(A) Select the team
(B) Identify the objective
(C) Identify the sponsor
(D) Allocate the resources

Answer: (b) Identify the objective. I didn’t like this question as I’ve seen the sponsor be the one who identifies the objective first in practice but I can understand that logically the problem should be selected from what is most important to the whole company, then the appropriate sponsor who can allocate the right resources and offer help be chosen to fit that objective.



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