Earlier on, all quality improvement programs were implemented away from the actual process. The employees were not an integral part of the quality process, as this function was looked after by an entirely different department. This system was not working optimally because the employees who had hands-on experience with the work could not implement the quality controls imposed upon them. On the other hand, the quality control supervisors were unable to understand the core working process properly and, therefore, could not define proper quality controls.
Six Sigma changed that paradigm entirely, borrowing heavily from martial arts disciplines. In the new structure, the organization has multiple levels, each trained in stages of Six Sigma methodology. The improvements come from the employees who actually work with the processes.
There are six major roles defined for implementation: Executive Leadership, Champions, Master Black Belts, Black Belts, Green Belts, and Yellow Belts. The roles are designed to divide the tasks of implementing Six Sigma successfully throughout the organization.