Monday, June 4, 2012


By Pascal Dennis

It's one of the most common failure modes in Lean transformations.

Here's perhaps the most important example:

Fragmentation of the PDCA cycle.

One group plans, another deploys & implements the plan.

Yet another checks the plan, and a fourth group adjusts it.

Nobody sees the entire chessboard, so we keep on making bad moves.

Indeed, we don't play chess -- we push wood.

Great Lean companies continually seek to integrate PDCA cycles.

Toyota's famous Chief Engineer or Shusa is nothing if not an integrator.

I remember the Corolla Shusa & his team, visiting our Toyota Cambridge plant year after year.

I had an image of him wrapping his arms around the entire platform.

Thereby, we have a chance at connecting the disparate silos that are perhaps the most obvious symptom of Big Company Disease.

So, here's a homework assignment.

Take a walk around your gemba and assess how well your organization integrates the PDCA cycle.

Are there people that wrap their arms around critical strategies, problems, product lines, value streams etc.?

Are your management processes designed to integrate the elements of PDCA?

If not, how might you improve?

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