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A3 Coaching: What Feedback Would You Give?

by Lean Leaper
May 30, 2017

A3 Coaching: What Feedback Would You Give?

by Lean Leaper
May 30, 2017 | Comments (14)

Today we feature a different type of piece on the Lean Post. We all know how critical the role of a coach is in creating and developing an A3, but not all of us have had that exciting opportunity to be a coach. Today is your day if you've never coached somebody to produce an A3. Below is a Training Within Industry A3, which some of you may recognize from Managing to Learn.

We want to hear your feedback -- if one of your people placed this on your desk, what questions would you ask them?


Leave a comment and let us know!

A3s will be a main topic at our upcoming workshops in Memphis, June 20-22. Learn more and register here.



The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
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14 Comments | Post a Comment
Simon Hogg May 30, 2017
5 People AGREE with this comment

I think it:

1) Is too much

2) Is not clear

3) Is a starting point for thinking about a bigger problem and possible solutions

4)An enthusiastic approach by someone, who needs some/more coaching.


Reply »

kevin kobett May 30, 2017
2 People AGREE with this comment

It's too broad. There are too many variables for effective experimentation. Need to narrow it done to one issue.

It's like shooting clay pigeons. If you focus on the entire clay, you will have a high chance of failure. If you focus on the leading edge of the clay, you success rate increases significantly.

Reply »

Jared Smythe May 30, 2017
2 People AGREE with this comment

Definitely too busy/crowded. I'm having a hard time following the problem itself. I think my first suggestion would be to simplify the Kaizen Tactics section. Interested to hear what others think...

Reply »

Mark Graban May 30, 2017
5 People AGREE with this comment

I'd ask, "When can we get together to talk about this in person?"


Reply »

Dean Chanter May 30, 2017
1 Person AGREES with this reply

I would ask "Can you show me your problem statement?" "How did you get to root cuase?"  "Can you show me how decided these are the nexts steps?"

Reply »

David June 02, 2017
1 Person AGREES with this comment

This show a level of understand and a lot of motivation  and enthusiasm.

The key for me is to sit down with he or she and understand the problem or business case being put forward and narrow this down, without dampening the individuals motivation.

A3 are meant to be simple straight forward and easy to follow this one is a little busy for my liking and could lead to solving the wrong problem or trying to solve to many things at once.

' Less is more'

Reply »

Pat Comer June 02, 2017

A New York City traffic jam that's larger than an elephant. 

Honestly l would take your largest delta issue and focus


Reply »

Eric Gordon June 02, 2017
2 People AGREE with this comment

I would ask them to walk me through their experiences as they strived to understand the process, develop the future state, and create the plan.  I would ask them questions about their A3 development. 

What did you learn about the process to be improved?  How did you gain agreement on what needs to be done?  How did you engage the people in the process?

If you were to start this A3 over knowing what you now know about the people and the process, what would you do differently?  What adjustments will you make in your A3 development process on your next A3?

This does appear to be an ambitious plan, but without an understanding of how the author developed this plan, one can not judge the plan.  The most common mistake I see with A3's is people doing them in isolation without gaining agreement from stakeholders.  If the author can convince me that they really understand the process and have the support of the people in process for the A3, I would just coach them to experiment and andjust as necessary. 


Reply »

Lois June 02, 2017
1 Person AGREES with this comment

I would ask: 

"How do you know?" (Deming's #1 question)

Where did you get the data?

How do you know this will be your outcome?

Have you done any testing to validate your perceptions?

Who is on your mprovement team?

Have you worked with marketing/sales to fill the production time available?  

What else could happen?



Reply »

Luis Loya June 02, 2017

This is a completed A3.  This is now an opportunity for hansei coaching.

What problem were your trying to solve?

What was your primary metric?

Have the countermeasures been sustained? 

Reply »

Tim Anderson June 05, 2017


It appears the training was paid attention to and a motivated and bright individual is having a first go. Bravo!

So, an approach  to ensure that the basic principles of lean are a part of the next ( and all following)steps would be logical to reinforce and create pull for the knowledge in the training.

So 'Go See, ask why, show respect'.

Have you been to have a look? When can we do that together.....? Facts before data

What do the workers think is the problem?( >1 likely)

What are the key factors? How do you know?Can I have a picture of the workspace?- Facts before data.

What is/are the people issue(s)?- Training/skill availability. Safety?Growth/Quality/delivery/cost/Capacity/Inventory

What are the current rates of scrap at each point? What are the key causes of scrap?Do you track them?

Which one is the biggest problem?

How does a worker/you know?

Can I have some more data on the current state please?

this should get the learner started. The size of the A3 project will sort itself out with likely Sub-A3s. This appears to be a Mission A3 transforming a value stream so a strategic and then tactical plan can evolve.


Hope this helps.


Tim Anderson 





Reply »

Steven Maker June 05, 2017

I'm studying the Lean/TPS world, so this is a good exercise.

Lots of issues as others have said, too broad, and done in isolation. And clearly coaching is needed.

But what strikes me is that there's no focused problem to solve - at first it seems to be moving from 1,000/day to 1,250/day, but the Indicators box shows a desire to (perfectly) solve all the problems.

Without a focused problem to solve, the lack of root cause analysis is not surprising. And thus the "tactics" are not contermeasures tested to address the root causes, they are just many of the tools in a Lean transformation.

As the others have noted, I'd ask the person to drive a discussion with stakeholds about what the first problem to solve is, and revise the A3 to focus on that.

Reply »

Steven Maker June 05, 2017

PS - the above is obvious right away from the A3's title.

Reply »

RUI COELHO June 06, 2017

Great post and great replies!

My thoughts: since and A3 tells a story, I would have them walk me thru:

- what is happening?  reason for inquiry? what is problem? what is goal?

- why is it happening? what tools did you use? what do you think the root cause is?

- what are you going to do next?  what checks will be in place? what are the steps to implement 

- what did you learn - from A3 thinking?  from the coaching?  what would they do differently next time?

Reply »

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