In a recent job interview I was asked, “What is your favorite type of training, six sigma certification or agile?” My direct answer was “I prefer Six Sigma.” That earned me a nice round of looks from the interviewers. The reason for this was because they weren’t sure if they understood what six sigma certification meant and hadn’t heard of the company. Six Sigma is a disciplined, detailed and inclusive methodology that focuses on eliminating defects in any process – from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.
If you’re an employer looking for someone to run the production lines then you need to understand the difference between six sigma certification vs agile. Six Sigma is a disciplined approach to improving any process, large or small. Agile, by contrast, tends to include a larger variety of projects within a larger project (or scope) and a “learn as you go” approach. Agile also emphasizes problem solving as the number one priority. Six Sigma focuses on training and maintaining a high standard of quality throughout the organization.
Why is six sigma certifications a better choice than agile? In order to reach the quality goals of the company, every employee needs to participate in the training. Six Sigma removes the burden of training by fully utilizing the existing employee resources. It leverages the people who already excel at a given task. If the training budget is small, six sigma certification can be the absolute best choice. In contrast, agile requires the hiring of new employees and training them individually.
How is six sigma different than lean manufacturing? Lean actually grows in the process and is not a set in stone process like six sigma. Six sigma training brings a greater emphasis on metrics and quality improvement in the business model. Agile relies more on problem solving and is more of a generic “learning in the mean time” approach to change.
Which approach is better for an organization? Six sigma certification can bring significant cost savings when applied to the entire operation. By reducing training costs and the amount of labor necessary to maintain quality, it becomes easier to implement changes throughout the organization. Six Sigma training does not focus enough on problems that exist today. This is where agile comes in.
Should businesses use six sigma certifications or should they use agile? This is the age-old debate that has no clear answer. There are pros and cons to both of these approaches. It’s often difficult to identify what is best for your organization. That’s because each business is unique and the approach to change must be appropriate. However, if you’re working on improving customer service and want to apply these lessons to your manufacturing operations, six sigma certification may be the best choice.
What are your concerns? Six Sigma Certification vs. agile isn’t likely to be a simple, one-for-one discussion. As I mentioned above, businesses are truly unique and it’s important to understand what each has to offer. However, by carefully evaluating both sides of this debate, it’s possible to find solutions that will work for your organization. The most important thing is that you have a stake in this discussion and that you’re making an investment in your future.