Project Management

It Takes Both—A Belt and a PMP—to Win

Michael Herskovitz earned a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State, a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Drexel, a Six Sigma Black Belt certification and a Project Management Professional® certification through Villanova. Michael’s career includes experience in aerospace, defense, semiconductor equipment manufacturing, pharmaceutical development and commercialization, and adjunct teaching.

In an earlier paper, it was pointed out that there are many similarities between the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, and control) approach of Lean Six Sigma and the project management framework defined by A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Third Edition (Herskovitz, 2011).

In a subsequent paper, it was suggested that for an effective execution of enterprise-wide process transformation projects, the project lead should have dual training/skills as a Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification holder and a Six Sigma Black Belt (Herskovitz, 2018).

Facing the reality that very few people pursue or possess both PMP and Six Sigma Black Belt certifications, in this paper I am promoting my belief that to be successful, companies pursuing business process improvement or transformation strategy need to assign both a Belt and a PMP to jointly plan, manage, and deliver the transformation strategy.

It is acknowledged that to some of us in the business, this paper will extract a “duh!! ... everyone knows this” reaction. However, to many others, this paper may be a value-add revelation despite the apparent incremental cost of two leaders.

Lean Six Sigma and the PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2004) agree that 1) a project has a distinct life cycle with clearly defined start and end events…

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