ASQ Six Sigma Body of Knowledge - your view?

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#1
Elsewhere, some have written there is a lot of controversy about what is contained in the Six Sigma BOK offered by American Society for Quality.

Some of the views are tempered by prejudice against anything offered by ASQ. Other views are knee jerk reactions based on seeing inept 6S practitioners.

Some views are self-serving by 6S practitioners who make a good living wearing a black belt.

Is there a way to systematically review the ASQ SSBB BOK to see what, if anything we actually disagree with and what is merely poor execution by some folks in our personal experience?

For starters, at least read through the BOK, offered free as a pdf file here
http://www.asq.org/certification/docs/sixsigma_bok.pdf

Then, list a specific item that seems off the mark and why. Frankly, I don't see much correlation between ASQ's SS and Neutron Jack Welch's (of GE) implementation, but I try not to let my distaste for some of Jack's tactics influence my view of the ASQ SS BOK.

Note the way the BOK is laid out is really a series of study topics for the certification test offered by ASQ. The way the topics are described gives the flavor of what ASQ's BOK committee had in mind when creating the BOK and an indication of what they considered important and testworthy about 6S concepts.
 
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Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
I have no opinion as to what should be in or out of the ASQ six sigma body of knowledge. The only concerns I have are

1. Why does it have to exist?
2. Does this imply there will be a "Lean" BOK, a "5S" BOK, a "whatever is the next fad" BOK?
3. The addition of these various certifications (which I assume if you develop a BOK, that implies it is for an ASQ certification) continue to "cheapen" the existing traditional certifications such as CQM and CQE.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#3
The thread is based on a questionable premise that's being assumed as fact: that SS is a good thing, and ASQ has endorsed it (which is perhaps being offered as evidence of the assumption). SS itself is a misbegotten strategy, so what good will commenting on the alleged merits of the BOK do?
Wes Bucey said:
Elsewhere, some have written there is a lot of controversy about what is contained in the Six Sigma BOK offered by American Society for Quality.

Some of the views are tempered by prejudice against anything offered by ASQ. Other views are knee jerk reactions based on seeing inept 6S practitioners.

Some views are self-serving by 6S practitioners who make a good living wearing a black belt.
How about, "Some views are from people who are concerned that the ASQ has been hijacked by revenue-crazy bandwagon-jumpers, and see the endorsement of SS as evidence."
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Steve Prevette said:
I have no opinion as to what should be in or out of the ASQ six sigma body of knowledge. The only concerns I have are

1. Why does it have to exist?
2. Does this imply there will be a "Lean" BOK, a "5S" BOK, a "whatever is the next fad" BOK?
3. The addition of these various certifications (which I assume if you develop a BOK, that implies it is for an ASQ certification) continue to "cheapen" the existing traditional certifications such as CQM and CQE.
This (#3) is an absolutely valid criticism, in my opinion. I will make sure it gets voiced to George when discussing a Lean BOK. It certainly seems that a BOK is a precursor to a certification exam.

This begs the question, "What can we do to revive the exisiting certifications to make them more viable in today's business climate?"

The follow-on question might then be, "Should we pare down the list of existing certifications to a more manageable core number?"

Maybe even, "Do certifications serve a valid purpose today or is it primarily an ego trip for the certificate holder?"
 
B

Bill Pflanz

#5
Wes,

Here are my responses to your questions.

Wes Bucey said:
This (#3) is an absolutely valid criticism, in my opinion. I will make sure it gets voiced to George when discussing a Lean BOK. It certainly seems that a BOK is a precursor to a certification exam.
I know that you are in the Lean Manufacturing forum of ASQ but I am concerned that the ultimate outcome of determining a BOK will result in another certification opportunity for ASQ and more revenue generation.

Wes Bucey said:
This begs the question, "What can we do to revive the exisiting certifications to make them more viable in today's business climate?"
One way would be to make them more like the Professional Engineering license. That would require proof of education in the discipline and documented experience besides passing the exam. More than likely that would severely reduce the number of those certified since Quality degrees are rare compared to Engineering degrees and experience is not normally required for an applicant.

Wes Bucey said:
The follow-on question might then be, "Should we pare down the list of existing certifications to a more manageable core number?"
The obvious answer is yes unless you are ASQ and benefit from the proliferation of certifications. Once the BOK is determined and the exam questions created, maintenance of the exams is probably not significant.

If you think a certification will help you distinguish yourself from others, than the number of certifications is dependent on your specialty. That is one reason why the number is growing. ISO has the same problem as each industry creates their own technical standards.

Wes Bucey said:
Maybe even, "Do certifications serve a valid purpose today or is it primarily an ego trip for the certificate holder?"
There is no ego in spending countless hours studying the body of knowledge. The exam merely verifies that you have learned a BOK that was created by a panel of "quality experts". It is easy to say that you know the BOK but proving it by exam is different. I know your argument will be that someone that knows the BOK does not need to be certified to apply the knowledge. True but in a world where resumes may only be given a cursory review, the certifications do stand out.

Certifications have become more widespread in many areas, just not quality. The problem is that a college diploma now means less since your degree may not have anything to do with what you do in the workplace. For those without a degree, the certifications can at least show familiarity with the published BOK and demonstrate qualifications for a job. As you have noted in your job hunting posts, getting to the interview part where you can describe your experience is the hard part. Like it or not, a certification can help open the door.

Bill Pflanz
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
Let's be clear. I don't have a vested interest in creating a Lean certification - I am past the stage in my own career where any new certification or designation would add value.

My view is that the BOK for any of the subsets of Quality (including ASQ SSBB) should be a guideline in skills and functions that an employer should be seeking from an employee so that employers are more effective in creating job descriptions.

The BOK should serve as a guideline in gaining knowledge and skills for prospective employees.

All guides, Standards, BOK, etc. are ultimately a compromise among folks who have a vested interest in the topic. By compromising on a set of skills and competencies, the framers have set the MINIMUM requirements. It is up to the candidates to show how they EXCEED that minimum in order to set themselves apart from competing candidates.

I am reminded of the standard joke nurses tell each other:
"Do you you know what they call the guy who graduates dead last in medical school?"
"No. What?"
"Doctor."
 

Howard Atkins

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Admin
#7
Excuse my query but is the discussion on what one should know as a minimum to enable you to be competent in a task or if the ASQ have a right to decide on the criteria.

ASQ have a right to decide for their certificate but does this mean anything apart from the ASQ have decided on it. One can argue whether the ASQ certificates mean any thing or not.
If we look at auditing the BOK is ISO 19011 whether the ASQ say or not.
I have no feelings here or there for the ASQ. I passed the CQM with out understanding the importance of the term BOK. This to me was the syllabus of the course I did. Each organisation can choose their syllabus. Please can we not argue about whether ASQ is right or not. It really does not matter.
If I have trod on toes I am sorry but that is how I see it.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#8
Howard Atkins said:
Excuse my query but is the discussion on what one should know as a minimum to enable you to be competent in a task or if the ASQ have a right to decide on the criteria.

ASQ have a right to decide for their certificate but does this mean anything apart from the ASQ have decided on it. One can argue whether the ASQ certificates mean any thing or not.
If we look at auditing the BOK is ISO 19011 whether the ASQ say or not.
I have no feelings here or there for the ASQ. I passed the CQM with out understanding the importance of the term BOK. This to me was the syllabus of the course I did. Each organisation can choose their syllabus. Please can we not argue about whether ASQ is right or not. It really does not matter.
If I have trod on toes I am sorry but that is how I see it.
I THINK the question is whether a non-ASQ person employer or employee (especially one not seeking ASQ certification) is justified in looking at the ASQ BOK for any of the ASQ certifications as a guideline for minimum good practices in that subset of Quality.

Alternately, is ASQ as an organization so flawed that the ASQ BOK are similarly flawed and are a bad guideline for prospective employers and employees?

What's happened, it seems to me, is prejudice against the ASQ organization is coloring judgment about the various BOK offered by ASQ. If so, is this fair and justified or not?

If the BOK are actually flawed as guidelines for folks NOT seeking certification, what are the specific bones of contention? Perhaps we can work to create a more acceptable BOK. [The Cove version of 6S BOK?]

In the case of Lean, we have an ideal situation to be part of the process in creating the ASQ BOK to our satisfaction. Why should we avoid that opportunity?
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#9
Wes Bucey said:
In the case of Lean, we have an ideal situation to be part of the process in creating the ASQ BOK to our satisfaction. Why should we avoid that opportunity?
Perhaps because ASQ has never demonstrated its own competence in setting standards, and because there is no reason that ASQ should be considered the final arbiter in these areas? Or maybe because ASQ has proven that its own machinery--certification exams--is not sufficiently capable of separating wheat from chaff?
 
R

ralphsulser

#10
IMO ASQ is the same as any other for profit business....They can do anything they think should to be done. The market they pursue determines if it is successful or not. I think ASQ in the past has been beneficial for some of the reasons mentioned above. I am glad to have a CQE designation for over 20 years because it has opened doors and provides a measure of competence needed in industry.
 
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