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Black Belt Project Ideas

One challenge for many aspiring Black Belt candidates who are either unemployed or having trouble with their employer sponsoring a project, is determining what their Black Belt project should be. However, there are many opportunities to apply your new learning and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the DMAIC methodology. Here are just a few ideas to get your imagination in gear.. some of these I've seen through some pretty strong project work done by NH BB candidates, others are just ideas that may help you realize that this is well withing your grasp

  • Decreasing household carbon emissions
  • Improving gas mileage
  • working with a local church or charity on increasing revenue or decreasing operating expenses.
  • Weight loss

Essentially, anything that can be synthesized down to a y=f(x) equation and improved. Personally, i'm a fairly new handgun owner and have been thinking about all the factors that i can control that affect projectile velocity and ft.lbs of force upon impact (no i'm not militant, just kinda of a geek). For my particular handgun..i've learned through research that barrel type, length, rifling and ammunition type, weight and manufacturer, along with recoil springs, are all factors (X's) that can have an impact on muzzle velocity (Y). Sooo - maybe i'll invest in a chronograph and begin the journey of maximizing muzzle velocity. First i'll have to start by recording velocities with my stock setup (what do you think, maybe 30-50 data points to establish my baseline??) then change out factors (barrels, barrel lengths, grain weight of the projectiles, different projectile brands, recoil spring type #1 and type #2 etc.) this has the makings of a DOE!

If this doesn't give you enough "Ammunition" (no pun intended) to come up with a project idea, how about a couple others (even more "Ammo" to prove i'm a bit nerdy). Maybe your a home brewer of fine beer or wine, nothing wrong with maximizing your "tastiness" (might have to advance into logistic regression but hey that could be fun) or what about measuring and managing the alcohol level of your concoctions.

Another one i personally spent a year on (many moons ago) was determining if my pick-up truck tailgate being up or down had a significant impact on my gas mileage. I had heard that leaving your tailgate down helped improve mileage. I meticulously performed a 3 factor 2 level DOE over the course of 32 tanks of gas (took a long time, almost an entire year, can anyone answer the question as to why 32 tanks of gas while only running a 2 level 3 factor DOE?) Nonetheless, it was concluded that the tailgate being down did not improve gas mileage...Lucky for me my studies worked out, because one day as I was teaching a BB class to a bunch of engineers, they explained to me (only after suspiciously asking for my conclusions on this study) that pick-up truck beds and airflow are designed to use the tailgate to re-circulate airflow and use the redirected air to help "push" on the back of the cab..who would have guessed??

Ok i'm rambling and hopefully your getting the idea. The important thing about your BB project is demonstration of learning and proper use and application of the tools as well as your interpretation and decision making derived from the information garnered through the use of those tools. Your project should take you through the DMAIC methodology and it should be something that demonstrates your ability to follow the discipline.

If you can find something in your own life that you can translate into a problem statement with a primary metric (Y). Then establish a Baseline, Goal, and Gap to Goal. Use the DMAIC methodology to determine the x's that significantly affect your 'Y' and prove through statistical tools that you have eliminated insignificant factors and isolated the significant ones. Then found ways to manage those 'X's to drive improvement.....then guess what! it really doesn't matter to me how "hokie" your project might be, you have the makings of good one!