Carnegie Mellon University

Lean Six Sigma

Aligned with Carnegie Mellon’s strategic focus of improving processes and efficiencies, the Lean Six Sigma program provides employees with a hands-on learning opportunity to experience the value of continual process improvement while using the principles of Lean Six Sigma. The program provides two types of participation opportunity:

  • Individual participants can take advantage of the opportunity for professional development and growth.
  • Campus partners can propose a team project. Through these projects, program participants gather hands-on experience, and project sponsors get the opportunity to have cross-functional teams explore potential improvement or cost savings for their process or service. Refer to the Criteria for Lean Six Sigma Projects [pdf] to learn more.
  • Implement a continual process improvement program using the principles of Lean Six Sigma
  • Align the program with Carnegie Mellon’s strategic focus of improving processes and efficiencies
  • Provide a practical experience for participants to apply the principles learned in the classroom to a team-based project under the guidance of a subject matter expert/consultant
  • Provide participants with support to pursue the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification at the end of the program
  • Contribute to establishing a culture of process improvement 
  • Provide university employees from various departments and divisions with the skills and tools essential to solving problems at various levels 
  • Reduce costs, raise productivity and enhance overall customer satisfaction
  • Standardize the tools and techniques used to improve processes
March The Office of Human Resources (OHR) begins program socialization with university leadership and stakeholder groups.
  • Nomination process officially starts to identify both program participants and potential projects and associated sponsors.
  • OHR reviews participant nominations and project proposals and sponsors.
  • OHR shares participant and project lists with university leadership.
  • OHR notifies candidates of their nominations and confirms their ability and willingness to participate.
  • Projects and sponsors are finalized and program participants are matched to projects.
  • Pre-program communications and any relevant training materials are distributed.
June and July
  • Participants attend in-person training sessions one, two and three. 
  • Project teams meet with consultant for one hour following each training session.
August through early November
  • Project teams meet for work and research.
  • Teams have monthly touchpoints with consultant.
  • Individual touchpoints are scheduled as needed.
November and December Teams present their project findings (in person, hybrid or virtual as circumstances dictate).

The nomination period is open through mid-April, with 30 spots available to motivated staff who meet the following requirements:

  • Some understanding of statistics
  • Inclination toward analytics (nice but not necessary)
  • Interest in Lean Six Sigma and process improvement
  • Initiative; not easily swayed from doing the work
  • Displays "stick-to-it-ive-ness"
  • Support from manager to dedicate time for training and working the project
  • Works well with others; ability to influence
  • Can draw insights from everyone on the project team
  • Mix of individual contributors, managers, technical and non-technical
  • Can synthesize customer expectations into measurable outcomes
  • Wants to grow and learn with a team of colleagues beyond department