Lean Bronze Certification Portfolio Information 

*Note: You must have taken and passed the Knowledge examination portion of the Lean Bronze Certification before submitting your required portfolio for review.

Congratulations! You are taking an important step on your lean journey. The Lean Certification path offers you the opportunity to:

  • Assess your personal progress
  • Evaluate results you’ve achieved versus planned
  • Reflect upon your experiences
  • Identify personal growth & development opportunities
  • Document your lean achievements

Lean Certification Portfolio: why a portfolio?

 Knowing about lean is just a part of the lean journey. Lean is about how you apply that knowledge every day, for the continuous improvement of your organization and yourself. It’s how you help others along their journeys. It’s about more than tools –– it’s about creating a system and culture that can sustain continuous improvement through employee and customer involvement.

Actual experience is critical to this certification. The portfolio is a reflection of projects that candidates undertook, and demonstrates the ability to: sustain the project; look for future improvement opportunities; show the ability for continuous learning and improvement; and illustrate how the candidate plans to progress on their own lean journey.

The Portfolio is About YOU

Using the Plan–Do–Check–Act (Adjust) cycle, the portfolio requires you to:

  • Document your lean–related education, training and development activities.
  • Describe a selection of projects you have been or are involved with, appropriate to the certification level that you are pursuing.
  • Reflect on your portfolio and experience and build your development plan for your recertification cycle. Please visit www.sme.org/lrecertification to see recertification requirements

PORTFOLIO TIPS:  Your portfolio is about you and what you have contributed to lean efforts. Focus on what you did as part of the projects on which you are reporting. Emphasize what you have accomplished and provide actual results.

  • Avoid future improvements. Reviewers cannot evaluate activity that has not yet occurred.
  • Be certain you have met all criteria specified in the project summaries. Your portfolio will be returned to you if you have not met these requirements.
  • Your projects should be filled with “I” language – I did, I facilitated, I led, etc. Your portfolio will be returned to you if the reviewer does not have a clear picture of your contributions to the projects. You will have ONE opportunity to revise to address the specific project deficiencies and submit the portfolio for reconsideration. If you do not pass the portfolio on the second attempt, you will need to wait one year to reattempt the portfolio (additional fees apply).
  • DO NOT include pictures, graphs, or any other type of images in the portfolio. Pictures tell a wonderful story about the team’s efforts, they do not indicate what YOU specifically did.
  • You may keep company names confidential on your projects, however you MUST indicate at a minimum the industry you worked in and the part of the organization that was effected by the project.
  • Your portfolio MUST be submitted in the prescribed format.

Education, Training & Development

Document the Lean–related education, training & development activities in which you have participated. They may include training (public or company–sponsored), conference attendance, hands–on workshops, kaizen events, books, videos, etc.

NOTE: If you are including Kaizen events or other “hands–on” events as training, they may not be used for your portfolio projects. You may only count each activity or event one time within your portfolio.

Training, Education & Development Hours Guideline:

  • Bronze Candidates: 80 hours minimum

Portfolio Requirements: Bronze  

Documentation Requirements for Bronze Certification Level:


Certification Level

Role in Projects

Portfolio Requirements

Form Name

Bronze Participant, leader,
co–leader, facilitator,
  • 80 hours of education, training & development
  • 3 tactical (local) projects
  • 1 portfolio reflection on the entire portfolio (1 page )
Education, Training & Development Form


Portfolio Review

All portfolios are peer reviewed. These individuals are certified either at the level you are attempting, or higher. They may also be representatives of the Lean Certification Oversight Committee. Portfolios will be evaluated and scored against the criteria outlined under the Portfolio Requirements.

Bronze–level candidates are focused on the tactical (local) application of lean, and must report out on three (3) lean projects. Tactical (local) lean is the deployment and application of lean principles, concepts and methods within a work cell, work group or value stream. A project may be a workshop, event or activities focused on implementation of specific lean concepts or techniques.

It is assumed that a Bronze–level candidate will have lead or actively participated in more than three (3) projects, and should select the best projects from that experience. Projects should reflect both the depth and breadth of your lean knowledge and experience.


Projects should demonstrate continuing practice in lean. For example, if you are applying for certification in 2016, and you started your lean practice in 2010, you may choose to include projects from 2011, 2012 and onwards in your portfolio to demonstrate that you are still practicing lean.

PASS POINT: Each tactical project must score 12 out of 15 possible points. Each project must pass for successful portfolio completion.


Portfolio Reflection

 Continuous improvement and human development are at the heart of the lean journey. The portfolio reflection is intended to capture your personal lean developmental journey, and your reflection about what you have learned through the portfolio and certification process. Your portfolio reflection assesses:

  • Your lessons learned through completing this portfolio process
  • Your greatest challenge in your lean journey and how you addressed it
  • Changes you could make in your lean implementation process that could make you more effective
  • Your three to five year developmental plan
  • Greatest challenges to achieving your developmental plan and how you intend to overcome them

You have one (1) page maximum to complete your Portfolio Reflection.

PASS POINT: Your reflection must score 20 out of 25 possible points for successful portfolio completion.

Bronze Portfolio Scoring

Each element of the portfolio is scored individually. To successfully pass the Bronze portfolio, you must receive:

  • a “pass” on the education, training & development requirements
  • a score of 12 out of 15 possible points on EACH project (all 3 projects must pass)
  • a score of 20 points out of 25 possible for your portfolio reflection

If an element of your portfolio does not pass, your portfolio will be returned to you and you have one opportunity to update the element that did not meet the requirements.

Bronze Scoring Matrix

Portfolio Component Scoring Pass Point
Education, Training & Development Pass/Fail Pass
Tactical Projects (3) 15 points per project 12 points per project*
Tactical Portfolio Reflection 25 points 20 points

*each project must receive a score of 12 or higher for successful portfolio completion.