Monday, December 17, 2012

Lean Pathways Problem Solving Kata

By Pascal Dennis

My friend and colleague, Mike Rother, has done us a fine service.

His book, Toyota Kata, shines a light on Toyota-style problem solving, and comprises five questions:
  1. What is your current condition?
  2. What is the target condition?
  3. What are the obstacles?
  4. What experiments will you run next?
  5. Where can we go see the results?
All fundamentally sound & helpful.

Our Lean Pathways kata goes like this:
  1. Do I have a problem?
  2. Do I know the cause?
  3. Have I confirmed cause & effect?
  4. Have I confirmed the countermeasure?
(For a deep dive the interested reader is referred The Remedy)

How do the two katas related?

In fact, they express the same underlying algorithm and thinking, and are synergistic.

Mike's kata is very helpful in getting people started, and getting them necessary problem solving "reps".

Toyota Kata also links problem solving to brain physiology and learning in a very interesting way.

Our kata explicitly links to problem to True North and Strategy Deployment, and highlights important technical aspects, such as:
  • Three types of cause -- Point of Cause, Direct and Root Cause
  • Nature of experiments to prove cause & effect
  • Role of STW, visual management & Jidoka in confirming countermeasures
In summary, as Hemingway once observed, "It's all true..."


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