Design, Development, and Deployment
of the ESTIEM
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
18 December 2018
Design, Development, and Deployment
of ESTIEM Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
This paper was prepared by the students who participated in the initiation of this program and
remained active through its design, development and deployment. Here they describe, for the
historical record, the motivation, sequence of activities, and successes obtained over a four-
year period, starting with its conceptualization at the ESTIEM Summer Academy in 2014 and
building momentum to the informal initiation in October 2015. The Spring and Summer of 2016
were dedicated to program design, curriculum development, and creation of an introductory
video series on quality and the 80 videos that composed the core of the on-line content. The
program was piloted at Aalto University in August 2016 even as its development was being
This paper describes the events that unfolded from August 2016 through December 2018. It
demonstrates what can be done by a few motivated students when coupled with a professor
who hasn’t learned to say “no” to any ideas related to continual improvement.
For that professor, I can say that this has been a tremendously rewarding and I have been
delighted to see the program picked up and delivered now in about 30 universities across the
ESTIEM network. I have also been informed that the number of certified Green Belt students
(course completed with approved projects) is currently approaching 400. Even more satisfying is
to see that graduates of this program have performed exceptionally well during summer period
internships at leading companies across Europe and that Human Resources departments in
some major companies are soliciting their next round of interns from among graduates of this
Gregory H. Watson
ESTIEM Summer Academy Professor
ESTIEM Honorary Member
Table of Context
Mapping the first guidelines for the course 6
Focus area 1 - Team & commitment 6
Focus area 2 - Goal of the LSS course 6
Focus area 3 - Building capabilities for core team 6
Meeting with the team 7
Building a plan for the Green Belt Course 7
Training 2 Black Belts 7
Presenting the idea inside ESTIEM 7
Key capabilities needed 7
Creating the base content for the course
Focus area 1 - Creating the videos 8
Focus area 2 - Integrating LSS with ESTIEM 8
Testing the video shooting 8
Presenting the idea for broad audience in CM 9
Gathering required funding 9
Selling the initial course to Aalto 10
Shooting and editing the videos 10
Key capabilities needed 11
Testing the feasibility of the course through first pilots 11
Creation of the growth strategy (5-5-100) 12
First course with ECTS in Aalto 13
Coordination meeting in Targu Mures 13
First ESTIEM training event in Aalto 13
Secure the funding for the project (Minitab) 14
Key capabilities needed 14
Testing different models for expansion 14
Focus area 1 - Teaching course without Greg 14
Focus area 2 - Pilots in several different types of teaching 15
Focus area 3 - Preparing new people for being instructors 15
Focus area 4 - Handover of the leadership 15
Expansion of the team 15
Pilot course without Greg (Dortmund) 15
Pilot course for testing new case (Aalto) 17
Pilot course for online-only model (Finnish LGs) 17
Handover of the leadership 18
Third ESTIEM event (Vienna) 19
Local courses in Karlsruhe and Paderborn 20
Plan for the regional model 20
Key capabilities needed 21
Creating the foundation for a sustainable Green Belt course 21
Focus area 1 - Sustainable course after the core team exit 22
Focus area 2 - Local course as the main driver for expansion 22
Focus area 4 - Standardization of team roles and teaching content 22
Regional course (Porto) 24
Pilot course without the Black Belts (Graz) 24
3 local courses (Oulu, Helsinki, Paderborn) 24
Fifth ESTIEM event (Dresden) 24
Article about the course for the EOQ conference (Bled) 24
Exit of 2 / 3 core team members 24
Standardized course content ready 24
Documented team roles and responsibilities 24
Key capabilities needed 24
Expanding the network of Green Belts 25
Change in leadership
Cooperation with Continental
Key capabilities needed
Appendix 1: Statistics about the course
Appendix 2: List of videos in the Green Belt course
Appendix 3: Course Models
Outline of the development of the ESTIEM Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course
for the course
for the course
Focus areas Team &
Goal of the LSS
Integrate LSS to
Create the first
First 2 pilot
Pilots in several
people for being
Handover of the
course after the
core team exit
Local course as
the main driver
of team roles
Finding the right
courses to the
/ tasks (4-7)
Building a plan
for the course
Training 2 Black
Test the video
idea for broad
audience in CM
Selling the initial
course to Aalto
Shoot and edit
Creation of the
with ECTS in
training event in
funding for the
Pilot course for
Pilot course for
Handover of the
Local courses in
Plan for the
3 local courses
Article about the
course for the
Exit of 2 / 3 core
team roles and
courses to the
skills on video
willing to invest
(can be partly
to host the
(2 Black Belts)
Marketing to get
efforts of larger
with drive to
Large pool of
with ability to
Large pool of
sell the idea to
Core team (3
Core team (3
Reach & # of
0 0 2 instructors
OCT 2015 -
APR 2016 -
AUG 2016 -
FEB 2017 -
SEP 2017 -
DEC 2017 -
Mapping the first guidelines for the course
Greg’s first ESTIEM Summer Academy was held in Espoo, Finland, in 2014. The topic was:
”Intellectual Roots of Industrial Engineering.” During that week Jukkis got curios about Lean Six
Sigma and ended up attending a Green Belt course during the winter. The following summer he
helped to organize the event and drove Greg every morning to the cottage. During the week
Jukkis and Greg agreed that they would start building a Green Belt course for ESTIEM. That led
to a journey which ended up being longer and involving more working hours than anyone of us
Focus area 1 - Team & commitment
A dedicated team is needed, no matter what kind of things are done. In this kind of project, it is
the starting point. In the beginning it was just Jukkis and Greg. By the end of the year Mikko and
Henri had joined the team to make something unique for ESTIEM.
Focus area 2 - Goal of the LSS course
There were several ways the Green Belt course could have been built from the beginning. Thus,
building a common goal among the team members for the development was crucial in the
beginning. Our common goal was, from the beginning, to equip Industrial Engineering and
Management students with a practical skill, which they can apply in working life. On the other
hand, we wanted to provide them with new opportunities.
Focus area 3 - Building capabilities for core team
The course content was to be built by Greg and students would be running the course after that.
The first idea was that it would be an online course, with most of the content coming from
videos. As part of the project, Mikko and Jukkis ended up attending a Black Belt course in order
to have deeper content knowledge.
Meeting with the team
In autumn 2015, Mikko was as an exchange student in Lausanne, and Jukkis ended up
suggesting him to help with starting an ESTIEM Local Group at EPFL. That led to a discussion
about Lean Six Sigma. Mikko and Jukkis were talking about it once a month during the autumn.
At one point, Mikko suggested that we would ask Henri to join the team. We sold him the idea of
building an online course for ESTIEM and that the expected workload of 2 to 3 hours per week.
Building a plan for the Green Belt Course
We agreed with Greg to meet him at ABC for breakfast once in a while on Saturdays during the
spring. Those meetings built our understanding about what we were planning to do and how the
course would be structured. Those meetings lasted at least three hours and the topics might
vary from growth days of Nokia to latest topics in Quality as well as to our studies and the plan
regarding the Green Belt course. As result of these meetings we had our first plan of what the
course would look like, and what kind of content would be filmed for the videos.
Training 2 Black Belts
During the winter of 2015 Mikko and Jukkis attended Greg’s black belt classes and were doing
their projects in healthcare industry. Mikko was working for a private healthcare company and
Jukkis for a public hospital. The learning they got from the real-life applications of the
methodology became crucial on the later phases of the development of the course.
Presenting the idea inside ESTIEM
The idea about the course had been presented previously in ESTIEM College in Xanthi,
Education Initiative Coordination meeting in Cambridge and in a working group in CM Vienna.
Key capabilities needed
To start building a well-recognized course, there was a need to have a person with excellent
knowledge on the topic, or at least it helped a lot on the way. Greg was also willing to invest a
lot of his time in developing the course as well as in the students building it together with him.
In addition to the expert, a core team of students was needed to develop the course and
make the teaching events happen. In the beginning none of the members were sure
how much time it would take to make the course happen and what all could happen. It
surely was more than 2 to 3 hours per week.
Nothing would have happened without ESTIEM, because it gave an European-wide
organization to work with. It brings together students from all parts of Europe and is run
on a voluntary basis. It has a history of over 25 years with a steady growth in the
number of members.
Creating the base content for the course
The next step after planning is to start doing. Our initial plan was to outsource video production.
For that we needed funding, but fundraising was harder than expected. The team ended up
producing the videos by themselves. The idea about the course was also sold to Aalto
University and it was agreed that there would be a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Course taking
place on autumn.
Focus area 1 - Creating the videos
The course content was to be taught with videos in order to have to have a scalable course
model. For that we needed to shoot videos where Greg would be teaching the course. During
the summer we filmed and edited 80 videos, whose length vary from 4 to 20 minutes.
Focus area 2 - Integrating LSS with ESTIEM
As part of developing the course, it needed to have an official status inside ESTIEM. The way to
do that was to start an initiative. That took officially place in Council Meeting Porto 2016, where
the council voted to launch Lean Six Sigma Initiative for ESTIEM.
Testing the video shooting
We were thinking a lot, about the best way to present the idea to a broader audience in
ESTIEM. Another big question was what the videos for the course would look like and format for
them. At one point we got an idea to shoot a few test videos. Those could be used to gather
feedback from students and market the course. The videos turned out to be better than we
expected, because only Henri has experience of how to handle a camera. He had taken
photographs. The equipment used to shoot videos was the same, but the format was completely
Presenting the idea for broad audience in CM
ESTIEM has a set process of how new ideas come part of the organization and get an official
status. The official status for a new project is called an initiative. In order to be an initiative in
ESTIEM, the idea needs to be presented to the council in Council Meeting and majority of local
groups need to approve the idea. The presentation for Lean Six Sigma Initiative was a few
minutes and below can be found the most important slides.
The filmed test videos were published in YouTube and people were guided to see them. (Check
here the playlist and after that also you are familiar why quality is just like sex) After the CM,
there was excitement about the course, and at least some interested students to join the course.
Gathering required funding
During the spring, we approached over thirty companies to partner with us and provide funding
for video development. Our plan was that a production company would make the videos. Selling
the idea was a bit harder than we expected. The discussion went further with a few of the
companies, and they were mainly interested in hiring students to do internships. In the end we
signed a contract with a construction company called Lemminkäinen to market five internship
places for students. The amount of the contract was 500 euros per place.
Selling the initial course to Aalto
In order to have credibility for the course, there was a need to do collaboration with an
university. The natural one was Aalto University, because it is located in Espoo, where Greg
and most of the team lived. There were two different meetings to discuss the possibility of
organizing the first course at Aalto for local students. Main slides presented can be found below.
In the end there was an agreement that the first ESTIEM Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course
would be organized in autumn 2016 and taught by Greg.
Shooting and editing the videos
In June 2016 the project was in a situation where there was an agreement to run a course at
Aalto with a plan where videos would be used to support the teaching. At the same time, there
was no money to pay for a company to do the shooting and editing of the videos. Testing video
shooting before Council Meeting turned out to become crucial for the continuity of the project.
That gave courage to the project team to shoot and edit the videos by themselves.
The filming of the videos took nine days in the end and editing a lot more. Greg was able to
shoot the videos with one take. Four or five videos had poor sound quality, and they needed to
be re-shot later. All 80 videos were split among team members, and it took, on average more
than a week per team member to edit them. And a week in this context means full working time.
Editing was not just about choosing the right camera, but it included making slides to be shown
in the video, based on slides Greg had used for the video, as well as what he said in the video.
Key capabilities needed
In the phase, where the base content is created for a course, a person with excellent content
knowledge is needed. In addition to that, a team and mechanism to capture that knowledge is
needed. In this case, the team learned together what it takes to shoot and edit videos as well as
edit slides for them. It took a lot of time, but was a great learning experience content wise and
from the technical point of view. That took a lot of time, and it can be partly outsourced.
The idea of the course and its benefits needed to be sold to ESTIEM. At first it was sold to the
board and after that to the council, who would vote about it. The message needed to be
appealing for students. For a team not having marketing experience, we did quite well. On the
other hand, we had experience about student organizations.
Testing the feasibility of the course through first pilots
At Aalto University the first course took place in November and December 2016 for Aalto
students only. In December we had our first coordination meeting and already in January 2017
we had our first international training event. Those teaching times gave us valuable experience
of what is a Green Belt course and what all it requires to organize one. Greg was teaching the
theory lessons and the team was responsible for the practical parts of the teaching. That gave
us a step by step involvement in teaching.
A strategy helps an organization to achieve its goal. That was one reason we created a growth
strategy, and on the other hand, it started as a half joke. In the end, we viewed most our
decisions and activities with respect to the growth strategy.
In order to have the course, we needed to have content for a full course. In the first courses,
videos were used as support material for the lectures given by Greg. In addition to lectures
there were cases and exercises done by students. Those were developed to meet the needs of
Students need to learn and have good experiences of a course in order that the course to be
sustainable in a long run, especially in a case where the course is not compulsory for them. We
had the privilege that Greg had been teaching Lean Six Sigma a lot in the past and was able to
provide students with valuable lessons. In addition to that, the atmosphere in the course was
great and we received good feedback on it.
Creation of the growth strategy (5-5-100)
The basis for the growth was set during a weekend, which we called “Strategy Cottage”. During
that weekend we created a growth strategy, which guided a lot of thinking regarding
development of the initiative. As a result of one discussion we had a small break and after the
break Mikko came in the room and said his famous comment: “Guys, let’s create a growth
strategy! I think that this is what we should definitely not do, but that is exactly why we should do
it. What do you think about 5/5/100?” The numbers meant five training events, five universities
with local courses and hundred students through the course during the first year. That was
agreed to be a good strategy at the latest in the evening in sauna. That ended up being one
slide in our Council Meeting presentation in Novi Sad autumn 2016.
First course with ECTS in Aalto
We had 38 applicants to the first course. In the end 17 students took the course. Henri attended
that course as a student. Mikko and Jukkis were responsible of coaching the practical group
work of the students. Statapults were used by the groups to learn DMAIC and data-analysis in
practice. Students who passed the course got five ECTS credits.
Coordination meeting in Targu Mures
Coordination meetings are the way in ESTIEM to take projects and initiatives forward. They are
open to all ESTIEMers to apply via portal, which is a web page. The first coordination meeting of
Lean Six Sigma Initiative took place in Targu Mures, Romania, on December 2016. It had 12
participants and it started with an half a day session with Greg in Bucharest. Topic of that
session was: ”The Role of Lean Six Sigma Green Belt as a Process Facilitator.” Some of the
guys drove from Targu Mures during the night to see the presentation. The foundation for the
expansion of the initiative was created during the coordination meeting.
First ESTIEM training event in Aalto
Events are core of ESTIEM. It was a very important step for us to organize the course as a
training event. It took place in Aalto University, Espoo Finland on January 2017. 20 students
attended the training event. Henri flew from Gothenburg to Finland to attend the part of the
event and he facilitated one of the practical sessions. In that particular session we tested how
we can facilitate team online, so that they communicate also between each other. That was
crucial at that point, because one of our hypotheses was that we would have a fully online
model of the course. That particular training went well. Based on that we concluded that it is
possible to facilitate four groups by one instructor.
Secure the funding for the project (Minitab)
We didn’t stop looking for possible companies to cooperate with. Minitab is taught in the course
and for many students that is their first experience with it. After negotiations we managed to
settle a partnership for them for two years for total of 20 000€. That support has enabled us to
pay some travel reimbursements to students who have been as instructors in the training
events, as well as all needed materials in the events etc.
Key capabilities needed
Greg was still needed a lot to get the course started. He was developing the course material as
well as teaching in the first two pilot courses. His reputation also helped to market the course.
Meeting with him in the Coordination meeting in Romania might have been a very important
situation for some of our future team members.
Training two team members as Black Belts prepared them to be responsible for practical
sessions of the course. In addition to the content knowledge, having two Black Belts helped in
selling the benefits of the course to students. They were able tell stories on how learning Lean
Six Sigma had helped them forward in working life.
A successful course needs to have students. The best comment heard about the image of Lean
Six Sigma Green Belt course inside ESTIEM is the following: ”I got a feeling, that I would be a
bad Industrial Engineer, if I had not taken the course.” That describes how well the team
managed to sell the idea inside ESTIEM to students.
Testing different models for expansion
Having taught the first courses, we faced several options for growing the Green Belt course.
From the beginning, the alternatives looked very different than in the end: for example, our initial
end game was to build an online-only experience to enable scalability. Over time, our thinking
shifted several times through experience from the pilots.
Focus area 1 - Teaching course without Greg
To understand the best way to build a scalable and sustainable course, we first had to test
teaching the course without Greg. Many people said to us in the very start of the initiative that a
course without Greg is impossible to see: our mission was to prove them wrong. Thus, the first
training event in Dortmund was one of the most important events for us, as it demonstrated to
the Lean Six Sigma team as well as broader ESTIEM that the course concept works.
Focus area 2 - Pilots in several different types of teaching
Additionally, we had several possible ways the course could be scaled. The initial hypotheses
for the scaling phase included: teaching through five-days-long, two-weekends-long or weekly
meeting based teaching concept. Furthermore, we were debating about the different ways to
use the content: Was online our main means of teaching or just a support system? Were
practical sessions possible to be hosted over internet or would they need to be face to face?
Could relatively inexperienced ESTIEMers host practical sessions or do we need very
experienced guys present at all times?
Focus area 3 - Preparing new people for being instructors
From the beginning, it became obvious that we needed to test how other people would handle
the teaching of practical sessions as soon as possible. Our thinking then was that the time was
our biggest enemy - we needed to achieve a sufficient number of instructors, course participants
and team members to achieve sustainability. Thus, we tested already in Dortmund, how
selected group of participants, who had seen the videos and training once, would handle
facilitating the practical session under the guidance of a Black Belt.
Focus area 4 - Handover of the leadership
Relating to having sufficient number of people, we also felt the need to prepare upfront for the
change in leadership. The course had been in the beginning centered around “the three Finns”,
which was definitely a big enabler in the beginning, but might turn to be a threat for future
change in roles. With this in mind, we chose to open up the leadership position for the team
members very early in the process - the three Finns would still be very much focused on the
content, but piece-by-piece they learned how to let more responsibility to the team leader.
Expansion of the team
In the beginning of 2017, two new members joined our team Iza (for corporate relations) and
Maya (for marketing). Both of them played a crucial role for the team: Iza eventually becoming
the leader, and Maya contributing for several years for the team. In addition to them there were
Doxy and Tuomas working with online platform and Jakob being responsible of events.
Pilot course without Greg (Dortmund)
The pilot course in Dortmund was a pivotal moment for us. Testing the teaching just among
ESTIEMers without Greg was crucial for the scalability of the course, but also quite a challenge.
In hindsight, taking the risk was both beneficial and even necessary: we had had two iterations
of full courses with Greg before, and a third iteration with him would not have taught us so much
about the scalability. Sometimes you just have to trust the system you’re building and put in so
many hours that it is very likely to succeed.
For the Dortmund course, we had our initial hypothesis of the course content: the videos and
the online platform were ready, we had initial drafts of the trainings before the training event,
and we had a simulated healthcare project and catapult case with the wooden catapults in
During the event, there was, however, a lot of hours that were needed to ensure quality. We did
quite dramatic changes to the trainings during events as we saw what worked and what didn’t.
As a hunch, the Black Belt course was really beneficial to be able to challenge the training
materials - without that some of our initial thoughts of the content would have been either too
hard to teach or likely to be incomprehensible for the participants.
While small in scale, a very important learning in Dortmund was provided by the pilots in the
participants teaching 2 trainings: both trainings were held simultaneously in 2 separate rooms,
so we actually had 4 test instances. It’s quite easy to prepare oneself to teach after spending
over a year with the material: quite different point-of-view is needed, however, when the focus is
shifted on how more inexperienced people can teach preset material. We did a lot of mistakes,
such as made changes on the last minute to the parts of training that didn’t work - without those
mistakes, we likely would have the course as it is today.
Pilot course for testing new case (Aalto)
While Dortmund was a great success for us, we had a lot to do with the course content. Our
main concern was the catapult: the current model of the case would have required all the
courses to have a catapult that cost over 200 euros. As we wanted to make the course available
for IEM students throughout Europe, we felt that we needed to find a lot cheaper way to teach
To enhance our learning, we organized a pilot course in Aalto with only 4 participants. The
course provided us with an opportunity to test new methods of teaching in practical sessions,
and most importantly, a way to build and test our new case. Additionally, as the course was
small, little time actually went to arranging the course compared to a full training course.
Pilot course for online-only model (Finnish LGs)
At the same time with the Aalto pilot, we also wanted to experiment with the online-only model
with Finnish local groups: namely Tampere, Lappeenranta and Oulu. Rather than having the
practical sessions face-to-face, we hosted the practical sessions over Skype for a group of 4-5
persons. The participants were doing the same trainings, but over online facilitation: they built
paper planes, paper catapults etc.
While the online teaching was a quite decent success, we felt that the online model did not
provide the same scalability and quality of the course. Somehow teaching 20 persons over
online, while enabling effective learning by doing, felt unrealistic. Thus, decided to let the online-
only model go and focus on teaching through face-to-face facilitation.
Handover of the leadership
While the course was still developing at full speed, we felt that the someone was required to
start the standardization of how we do things inside the Lean Six Sigma team. Our hands we full
with trying to find a scalable way of teaching and training instructors to teach the course. Thus,
we felt that electing a new leader to take our role was better done sooner rather than later.
Concerns were raised many times, whether our new leader would have real power, or the three
Finns would still have the indirect command. To be honest, it was definitely difficult in the
beginning as we did several iterations on how we taught and how we scaled: something that is
in the core of leadership. Somehow it all worked out: mainly because we had Iza as our newly
elected leader who pushed the whole team to standardize the way of working and the content
very early in the process.
Some methods we found to be effective included meeting often, discussing about strategic
items together, and clearly defining the boundaries of responsibilities and roles. Meeting often
face-to-face enabled us to build the required trust and personal relationship to withstand the
difficult conversations. Discussing about the strategic items together on the go enabled better
information sharing than any handover document or single handover meeting ever could do in a
initiative this complex. Finally, definitions and agreements on the boundaries of responsibilities
of new and previous leaders are crucial in a development phase: the old leaders still had a
significant role in the development of the course, but the role was limited initially to the
development the teaching and learning about the new methods for scaling.
Third ESTIEM event (Vienna)
Our third ESTIEM event was held in Vienna in May 2017. Vienna provided us with a yet another
to test the improvements to the course content and see how the others managed the teaching
The main development for Vienna was the four-week instructor development model. The model
was built around watching the videos again (the instructors had seen them before in the
course), answering questions, having chats where we went through the trainings, as well as a
day before the event where we got to know each other and discussed about the content. The
instructor development path was definitely not perfect, but a huge step forward from the past.
The instructor development path was created to build three core capabilities in instructors: the
capability to focus on individual learning experience of each participants, the ability to handle
difficult situations which might arise during the events and having sufficient knowledge on the
Green Belt content.
Local courses in Karlsruhe and Paderborn
While ESTIEM events provided us with a broad reach, we felt that the resources needed to
organize one would likely be a hindrance to scalability. Thus, we wanted to experiment also with
the local course model, where local instructors could take the course to their own local group.
We were lucky to have Thomas as our integral part of developing the local course concept, as
well as making it happen in Germany.
The first courses, one in Karlsruhe and one in Paderborn, were taught by people who had gone
through the course earlier in the Spring. For Paderborn, the two Black Belts facilitated a course
for only the instructors: during the course, the discussions were held also on how to be a good
instructor. Paderborn was also the first place, where we held a difficult situation training to the
instructors: through simulated situations we learned how to react if the instructor doesn’t know
an answer to the question, or the participants start to question the knowledge of the instructor.
Plan for the regional model
Having successfully had three ESTIEM events and regional events, we felt that something was
missing from the picture. We had established a language to talk about the local group maturity:
level 1 for a local group with only interest, level 2 with some instructors and at least one course
held in the past year, and level 3 for local group with several instructors and more than one
course in the past year. To get more local groups to level 2 or 3, it seemed that only local
expansion might be insufficient in the long run.
For student organization such as ESTIEM, the length of commitment from students range often
from 1-3 years. Thus, once a relatively strong local group might turn into relatively weak one in a
course of few years. To facilitate both the sustainability and the faster expansion, we felt that we
needed to combine similar local groups together to form regions. The regions would share an
instructor pool which would help the new local groups to have their first course as well as help
incumbent local groups in case some instructors would be unavailable e.g. due to being on a
Key capabilities needed
In a phase of rapid expansion, it was of great benefit to have people who had had a formal
training on the topic. Two Finns had gone through the Black Belt course of Greg, as well as
done a Black Belt project in a company. Without having those people with strong content
knowledge, building the material for a sustainable course would have been difficult. It might
have been difficult for a guru like Greg to step into the shoes of students and iterate with them a
sustainable model for teaching without having support for building the practice sessions.
In addition, the phase would not have been successful without instructors who were willing to
take a leap and teach on the Lean Six Sigma course. From the side of the team, we had to both
motivate and provide them with a premade that they would feel comfortable in teaching.
In the expansion phase, we also felt that people with good skills in getting larger public
interested in a topic were crucial for the success. Without the interest, there would likely have
been insufficient number of participants, instructors and team members - all of which were
needed to have the course.
Finally, the team needed to orchestrate efforts of larger team, as well as a network of
contributing people. A lot of people were willing to contribute to the quality of the material: while
that was a fantastic resource, sometimes we felt that quite a lot of content knowledge was
needed to make sure that the course was of a good quality overall. In other words, many things
we originally felt we wanted to outsource, we needed to ourselves, and vice versa.
Creating the foundation for a sustainable Green Belt
Having demonstrated that the course content and support organization works, we needed to
focus on the sustainability of the course. For us, being sustainable meant keeping the quality
and reach of the course high even after the change in the core team and the instructors in the
network. To achieve sustainability, we felt that both a constant flow of new Green Belts and
well-defined team structure were the key components.
Focus area 1 - Sustainable course after the core team exit
The first milestone towards sustainability was to have the Green Belt course up and alive after
the exit of the original founders - including the two Black Belts. We felt that certain structures
had to be in place to ensure the quality in a long run: the course content would have to be
standardized, a critical mass would need to have gone through the course so that the next
generation of team members would likely be secured, and the instructor development path
would have to provide a new generation of high quality instructors.
Focus area 2 - Local course as the main driver for expansion
As the Green Belt course was still in its infancy, we needed to focus on both the sustainable
future and growth in parallel. In practice, this meant being flexible and doing constant changes
on the course content and development material, while standardizing core items such as team
roles. The leader at the time, Iza, had a tight focus on enabling sustainability through
Focus area 4 - Standardization of team roles and teaching content
The more iterations we had, the clearer it became that the masses could only be achieved by
having a strong network of local groups which would provide courses locally. The events
enabled us to have a broad reach around Europe; the regional collaboration helped the local
group to achieve enough instructors to have their own local courses; the local courses would,
however, provide the critical mass of Green Belts which would be needed to secure next
generation of instructors and team members.
Regional course (Porto)
One of the main reasonings behind regional courses was that they enable building new local
groups to areas where a significant interest but only few Green Belts exist. The first pilot in
Porto was meant to expand the Green Belt teaching to Portugal. The end game was to teach
Green Belts, who would then be in the future the instructors for the local courses.
Pilot course without the Black Belts (Graz)
One of the key milestones of our course was to demonstrate that the teaching structure
supported having quality events without any Black Belts present. The first such an event was
held in Graz, where long-time team members took responsibility of hosting the event. Content
wise, the focus of the event was in building instructor notes and hints to be used both before the
event and during the trainings.
3 local courses (Oulu, Helsinki, Paderborn)
In addition to the regional event and the ESTIEM events, also 3 new local courses were held
with over 50 new participants. The three local courses got good reviews, in turn validated that
the course content was of high enough quality to be taught by Green Belt instructors.
Fifth ESTIEM event (Dresden)
The ESTIEM event in Dresden followed the usual pattern with both Black Belts being there. One
uniqueness of Dresden was that a new catapult case was piloted based on the previous
feedback, as well as a possibility for the company visit and case during the event was tested.
The company case was in the end taken away from the 5-day structure, as the agenda was
already packed from morning until the evening, and due to the unscalable nature of company
cases from one geography to another.
Article about the course for the EOQ conference (Bled)
As a dozen iterations were already done for the Green Belt teaching material, the original three
Finns decided to write an article about the teaching method we had created. The article was
published in the EOQ conference held in Bled. The conference provided validation that there
was a broad interest for the method of Green Belt teaching we had created.
Exit of 2 / 3 core team members
As part of the sustainability theme, two out of three original Finns left the core team. While
Mikko and Henri left the team, they kept on contribute to the content on case-by-case basis.
Additionally, Mikko participated as an instructor to a few Green Belt events. The third Finn,
Jukkis, stayed in the team until November 2018.
Standardized course content ready
The exit of the 2 Finns also marked a time when the “Green Belt content 1.0” was formed. The
first standardized full version of the content meant that those trainings would serve as the basis
for all the local courses. Certain changes could made to how the trainings were facilitated, but
no changes would flow back to the course material. This system was designed to prevent
accidental change of the course content to false way: changes on top of changes on top
changes could mean that the new version of the course would have little resemblance to the
original course. Any major changes would also pose difficulty for the scaling: if there would be 4
instructors who had all seen different version of the course, there would be a big risk the
teaching of different instructors would not be coherent with each other.
Documented team roles and responsibilities
In addition to the standardized course content, one of the major hallmarks of Iza and the team
was to document the team roles and responsibilities. Documenting the processes inside the
team, such as how to organize the training event or how to establish a new local course,
enabled new team members to hop in the Green Belt team. The documentation and defining
responsibilities were crucial, as the complexity and size of the course was growing rapidly.
Key capabilities needed
The phase needed a leader and a team who were willing to put hours to the documenting and
defining the responsibilities and way of working for each team member. The skills needed was
very different compared to the beginning of the Green Belt journey required people who were
willing to build structure, content and organization for the course out of the blue. Thus, it was
very helpful to recruit a new leader, Iza, who was able to push the rapidly changing core of the
Green Belt course a bit by bit to standardized format.
The more the Green Belt course grew, the more crucial was the need for having a large pool of
instructors. For us, some persons played an absolutely crucial role in the development of the
course. The plethora of hours that the instructors were willing to invest in the course was a
cornerstone of our success: the network of instructors really made the scaling and the local
course model happen.
Expanding the network of Green Belts
While the content was standardized, the number of issues to be resolved kept staying high - at
the time over 300 participants had gone through the course with a run rate of close to 200 per
year. Thus, finding the right people for keeping the Green Belt machine up and running was
integral for the success. We were lucky to get another great leader, Paul, who was both
committed and had a drive to develop the course further.
Having found a way of teaching that worked as well as growing demand, the Green Belt course
had pressure to grow. With more people through the course, more people wanted to have an
opportunity to instruct. With more instructors, more people were able to go through the course
and so on. The pressure for growth posed its own issues for the core team: how to decrease the
workload per new course to keep the overall workload in a reasonable level. In practice, the
expansion meant having again 5 new events during 2018, as well as several local courses in
different local groups.
Change in leadership
After the successful mandate of Iza which focused on standardization, Paul took the role of a
leader of the Green Belt course. As of writing, Paul is still the leader of the course, and has
succeeded in expanding the course - courses have been held in 2018 in new countries such as
Romania, Switzerland and Serbia.
Cooperation with Continental
As one of the milestones of 2018, the Green Belt course struck a collaboration deal with
Continental. As part of the deal, Continental provided places for Green Belt to do projects in one
their factories. One the original missions of the three founding Finns had been to “enable
participants to advance in their career faster than they otherwise would have”. The collaboration
definitely helped to us to go towards that mission.
Key capabilities needed
The rapidly growing course definitely needed a team with skills in both managing and simplifying
complexity. In practice, that meant that even more defined and improved processes were and
are required to be able to manage the course pro bono inside ESTIEM. Luckily, the methods
taught during the course can be utilized also for further developing the course organization.
As the number of local courses grows, the less the central team can give individual guidance to
stronger local groups. Thus, more and more instructor teams on a local level took a
responsibility to organize and teach a full Green Belt course. The committed instructors served,
again, as the cornerstone of our success - a key for the success of our course that can’t be
Appendix 2: List of videos in the Green Belt course
DMAIC History of Lean Six Sigma
DMAIC What is Lean Six Sigma?
DMAIC Understanding Quality in Outcomes
DMAIC Understanding Quality in Design
DMAIC Structured Problem Solving
DMAIC Continual improvement - Standards
DMAIC DMAIC Problem Solving Process
Define Problem Definition
Define DMAIC Project Management
Define Developing a Project Charter
Define Operational Definitions
Define Attribute Agreement Analysis
Define Creating a SIPOC Process Map
Define Dirty Data in Messy Processes
Define Exploratory Data Analysis - 1
Define Exploratory Data Analysis - 2
Define Exploratory Data Analysis - 3
Define Exploratory Data Analysis - 4
Define Specifying Project Stakeholders
Define Profound Knowledge
Define Stratification and Decomposition
Define Daily Management and 10-S
Define Understanding Waste
Define 5 Why’s with Data Analysis
Define Spaghetti Maps and Value Analysis
Define Statistics and the Flaw of Averages
Define Deviation and Distributions
Define Intro to Minitab 1
Define Intro to Minitab 2
Define Statistical Process Management
Define Improving 4-up learning
Measure The Measure Phase of DMAIC
Measure Process Analysis and Mapping
Measure Functional Analysis and Mapping
Measure What can be learned from failure?
Measure Risk and Failure Analysis
Measure Measurement System Analysis - 1
Measure Measurement System Analysis - 2
Measure Measurement System Analysis - 3
Analyze The Analyze Phase of DMAIC
Analyze Analyzing Process Flow
Analyze Basics of Collecting Data Samples
Minitab Minitab: Power & Sample Size
Minitab Minitab: Sample vs. Population
Analyze Developing Research Hypotheses
Analyze Understanding the P-Value
Analyze Determining Statistical Confidence
Analyze Testing data for Differences
Minitab Minitab: Testing data for Differences
Analyze Graphical Analysis of Differences
Minitab: Graphical Analysis of
Analyze ANOVA: Analysis of Variance
Minitab: ANOVA: Analysis of
Analyze Regression Analysis Methods
Minitab: Regression Analysis
Analyze Least Squares Residuals Analysis
Minitab: Least Squares Residuals
Analyze Process Transaction Cost Analysis
Analyze Assessing Improvement Options
Improve The Improve Phase of DMAIC
Improve Identifying Improvement Options
Improve Kaizen Process Blitz
Improve Process Laboratory
Improve Process Benchmarking
Improve Experimental Analysis
Improve General Electric Decision Workout
Improve Recommending Change Decisions
Control The Control Phase of DMAIC
Control Self-Inspection & Mistake-Proofing
Control Statistical Tolerance Analysis
Control Daily Work Process Discipline
Control Minitab: Process Capability
Control Minitab: Measurement Analysis
Control Minitab – Statistical Control
Control Documenting Standard Work
Control Process Control Plan
Control Benefit Capture and Review
Appendix 3: Course Models
AGENDA LSSGB Training Event
Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Opening the day
930 Catapult Inc.
DMA - phase1000 Initiating a
LSS project1030 Coffee
1130 Initiating a
DMA - phase
Lunch Lunch Lunch
1330 Closing the
IC - phase
EDA & Minitab
Control IC - phase
1600 Coffee Coffee
Intro to the case
1900 Dinner Dinner Dinner Closing
*Red videos, Green practical session, Blue case