It’s not often I see something ingenious. This is one of those times. How about demonstrating the PDCA Cycle via Lego Figures! Håkan takes his approach and applies it to software development, but the same story could be said for any context (except pair programming). Thanks to Håkan for presenting such a great and aesthetically pleasing way of teaching, including the common history of Lean and Six Sigma. Incidentally, if you want to see how Lego actually manufactures Lego Bricks, take a look at this Lego Factory Tour article with a video tour of the Lego Factory.
No team is perfect. But, most try.
Meet the team. This is a cross-functional team, sitting together to solve a problem.
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They sit together, and there’s a Kanban Board in their work area.
Their Kanban Board shows metrics for Manage for Daily Improvement. It looks like they need to improve on a few things.
They brainstorm together and gather a number of suggestions. But, things aren’t going much of anywhere.
They ask themselves several questions, as described below. They need a more systematic way of improving. A method that is flexible, repeatable, and effective.
Enter, Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA).
In general, a Kata is a ritual or an organized behavior. For continuous improvement, there are two types of Kata:
- Coaching Kata
- Improvement Kata
Coaching Kata has much to do with the Toyota A3 Problem Solving approach.
For this story, we’re going to look at Improvement Kata.
For this, we need to understand Current Condition, identify Target Condition as first steps.
In more detail, we need to
- What is the current condition
- What is the target condition
- Then, apply PDCA to identify the root cause, countermeasures, and then adjust accordingly based on the results.
Here, we work as a team and better organize around PDCA. Currently, we need to understand the general direction, or the context of the problem.
Then, with some data, quantify the problem and articulate the problem in words that someone unfamiliar with the problem space could understand.
You might need to look at and synthesize or analyze data to understand the current condition.
Given the current state, what is the target condition? This requires vision and an understanding of what a defect-free or problem-free process looks like.
The whole middle part between Current Condition and Target Condition is where the bulk of the work will be. This is where Plan-Do-Check-Act will come into play.
In PDCA, we work as a team. We conduct root cause analysis, using the 5 Whys or a Fishbone Diagram, validate the root causes, then brainstorm effective countermeasures that will surgically address the validated root causes.
Here, we do more PDCA.
By working together to systematically solve a problem, we feel more like a team and we create an environment that fosters learning and effective problem solving.
Here, we celebrate. Thanks to Håkan Forss of the Avega Group.