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Roles and Belt in Lean Management

Understanding Lean Roles: From Black Belts to White Belts

Lean methodology, like many other process improvement disciplines, relies on a hierarchical structure of roles, which can be compared to stepping stones or martial arts belts. Each level consists of several roles which indicate a various degree of expertise and responsibility. The following are the key Lean roles:

Champion or Sponsor – the Champion or Sponsor is required to maintain project work, oversee the alignment of projects with strategic goals, and provide adequate resources. This individual advocates and protects Lean principles in the organization.

Process Owner – the Process Owner is responsible for overseeing the target processes. They should manage the improvement process, introduce solutions to problems, and ensure project success.

Master Black Belt – Master Black Belts guide and educate Black Belts and their work is crucial to Lean implementation and project success.

Black Belts – Black Belts oversee improvement projects and mentor Green Belts. This group is responsible for all aspects of projects, including communication with process owners.

Green Belt – Green Belts assist Black Belts in their work through implementing improvement projects. They are trained in Lean and are actively involved in projects.

Yellow Belt or Orange Belts – Yellow Belts are involved in various projects and workshops, assist in collecting data, and are also used to provide minor support for big projects.

White Belt – White Belts are members of the organization who are experts in a particular domain. They are not educated in Lean, but they can participate in projects with their expert knowledge.


Thus, it can be concluded that Lean roles constitute a range of skills and duties, all of which are required for the successful implementation of process improvement efforts. Whether they are Champions pushing for corporate transformation or White Belts providing simple and straightforward suggestions, each role is essential for encouraging a Lean-oriented mindset in an organization.

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