Six Sigma vs Lean Six Sigma
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Six Sigma vs Lean Six Sigma: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Admin

As a professional who is looking to have a career in fields such as quality management and operations, you need to know about the Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma certifications to help kick-start your career. Because the two are totally different tracks, it is common to land up in the confusing dilemma of choosing the best-suited certification for you.


Here, most of your doubts will be cleared, and you will understand the distinguishing factors of Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma.

 What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma refers to a systematic, data-oriented method of eliminating defects in a variety of processes, from manufacturing to transacting and producing to servicing. The major objective of Six Sigma is extremely specific— it aims to reduce the rates of defects in all processes and utilizes any one of these two approaches listed below:

  • DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control)
  • DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyse, Design, and Verify).

 What is Lean Six Sigma?

The development of business processes is important to ensure that businesses are able to adapt to the latest technologies and demands. Six Sigma stands no different because, given the association of lean methods of management, it has developed a new approach that can focus on processing speed as well as quality.

Lean Six Sigma is designed to use the same DMAIC approach and also has been organized in the same structure. This implies that the certifications have the following stages:

  1. Six sigma yellow belt training
  2. Six sigma Green Belt training
  3. Six sigma Black Belt training
  4. Six sigma Master Black Belt training

 Comparing Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma

While there exist very few points of difference between the Six Sigma approach and the Lean Six Sigma approach, here are the major areas where both the processes stand as completely distinct:

The first and foremost difference is the fact that Lean refers to a philosophy whereas Six Sigma refers to a program. The latter does not try to change organizational culture but the former aims to reorganize the culture as well as the behavior of employees. This makes Lean Six Sigma both a program as well as a philosophy.

The main objective of the Six Sigma methodology is to eliminate errors and defects that can potentially cause hindrances in the capacity to provide top-quality services. Six Sigma targets the reinvention of the process in order to restrict the variations to as low as 3.4 defects in every million.

Lean Six Sigma has to focus on the eradication of waste while also speeding up the process. Waste can be categorized into 8 types with respect to this lean system. They are:

  • Waiting
  • Overproduction
  • Over Processing
  • Rework
  • Motion
  • Unnecessary
  • Inventory
  • Intellect

This works towards the reduction of the variation process, leading to a faster cycle of improving iteration.

In other words, while Six Sigma focuses on customer service and the final product, Lean Six Sigma lays emphasis on waste and methods of production.

For experienced professionals having supported projects related to quality improvement, the Six Sigma Belt should be your ideal choice. For freshers with little to no experience, it’s better to opt for Lean Six Sigma Belt because it does not have any prerequisites. Candidates are taught the process of Six Sigma DMAIC along with other important concepts in Lean Six Sigma.

While speaking of ownership, Six Sigma stands in stark contrast to Lean Six Sigma. With Six Sigma, the responsibility of implementation rests upon special-purpose teams created particularly for this purpose. However, in the case of Lean Six Sigma, it is compulsory to have the adoption of all the process members because it targets a consistent improvement along the complete operational value stream.


 Selecting the Appropriate Certification

You have to learn the implementation of Lean Six Sigma methods for driving process improvements, optimizing costs, and improving quality throughout the company. Identification and removal of the reason behind errors in business processes are crucial for building a personalized quality toolkit. Reducing wastage, speeding up the time-to-market, and eliminating the usage of marginal procedures in conventional settings are explained.


This lean six sigma black belt training continues for the duration of five days. With the practical black belt certification course, you are going to cover complex concepts along with practices that build the knowledge and skillset expected from a practitioner.

Upskill yourself with the knowledge of the Lean Six Sigma improvement methodology process for bridging the differences between the principles and practices of Lean and Six Sigma. One must identify and eliminate the reasons behind errors in business processes, for building a customized quality toolkit yourself. You will lessen wastage and decrease time-to-market while removing the usage of marginal methodology in conventional settings.

Please note that there exists no particular body exclusively offering Six Sigma certification. This implies that the certification requirements vary in relation to the guidelines of specific organizations. Moreover, there also remains some amount of disagreement regarding the certification levels.

The correct choice of accreditation body means that you must ensure that it is recognized by the industry’s top organizations and bodies across the globe. The two major accreditation bodies consensually recognized all over the world are:

  • American Society for Quality (ASQ)
  • International Association for Six Sigma Qualification (IASSC).

Understand the levels of certifications offered in order to clearly chalk out the certification that will be the best choice for you. Make it a point to study the prerequisites as well as eligibility criteria for individual certifications before you make a final decision.


The choice between Six Sigma & Lean Six Sigma depends totally on the organizational practice in relation to the domain you feel is important for the improvement of your organizational process. Once you are interested in learning the basics of both Lean as well as Six Sigma, it is better to opt for the Lean Six Sigma certification.

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