Carnegie Mellon University

Lean Six Sigma

Professional Development Opportunity for Staff

As Carnegie Mellon University continues to be one of the world's leading research universities, a commitment to our staff members' professional development becomes ever more important. Aligned with Carnegie Mellon’s strategic focus of improving processes and efficiencies, the Lean Six Sigma program aims to provide employees with a hands-on learning opportunity to experience the value of continual process improvement while utilizing the principles of Lean Six Sigma. There are two participation opportunities related to this the Lean Six Sigma program: 1) individuals have the professional development and growth opportunity and 2) campus partners have the opportunity to propose a project that a group can gather hands-on experience by exploring the potential for improvement or cost savings for a university process or service. To learn more about LSS projects, see Criteria for Lean Six Sigma Projects [pdf].

  • Sponsor a continual process improvement program that utilizes 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 begins with university leadership and stakeholder groups.
April 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.
May 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 Sessions One, Two and Three: Training (in person).
Project teams meet for 1 hour with consultant (following each training session).
August through early November Project teams meet for work and research.
Monthly touchpoints with consultant.
Individual touchpoints scheduled as needed.
November and December Project team presentations (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:
  • Inclination toward analytics; nice but not necessary
  • Some understanding of statistics
  • 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