Does a Black Belt need to know and use CPM and PERT methods for project management ?


I was just asked by Rene C. from Nice, France, while he was preparing for his Black Belt, if he needed to know the details of how to use Critical Path Method ( CPM )  or Program Evaluation and Review Tequnique ( PERT ) in order to be a Black Belt ?

This is a common question so I though I would repeat my answer to Rene here.


In order to pass the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt exam ( whether it is IASSC, ASQ or any other examination body ) you will NOT be required to know about the details for how to calculate the Critical Path ( CPM) of a project or use the PERT method for project / activity duration.  You should be familiar will all the concepts of CPM, PERT, WBS and Gantt Charts however this is not tested in any detail in the exams.
A Lean Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belts needs understand that in the IMPROVE phase of a DMAIC project you will need to 1.  Choose the best solution to correct the Root Cause of the problem  2. Pilot or Prototype the solution  3.  Provide a Control and Training Plan for the solution so you and then workers know what to do as soon as it is implemented  4.  Implement the solution into production / business-as-usual.
The details of the skills, tools and knowledge required for the Implementation part of the IMPROVE phase are part of the Body of Knowledge for Implementation Project Managers and are found in such courses as PRINCE2 and the PMP or CAPM certifications ( see   This is where you would be tested on the details of CPM, PERT, Network diagrams, Gantt Charts etc.
It is often appropriate for a a Black Belt to choose and appoint a separate Implementation Project Manager just for the Implementation part of the IMPROVE phase since the Project Management skills required for Implementation have a different focus than those of a Black Belt.
Here are 2 quick 5 minute videos covering CMP and PERT that give everything you need to know as a Black Belt,  but even this will NOT be tested in your BB exam.
I hope this helps.  Let me know if anything is still not clear.