A3 Articles (64)

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A3: Tool or Process? Both....
By: Richardson, Tracey | October 14, 2011
Coach Tracey Richardson explains why an A3 is both a useful tool that captures and shares the results of an investigation--and is also a thinking process that cannot be ignored.    More »
What Are the Different Types of A3s?
By: Richardson, Tracey | August 8, 2011
What are the different types of A3s and what are they used for? More »
How Do I Start My A3?
By: Verble, David | July 18, 2012
When asked "where do I start to write my A3," David Verble responds "don't start by writing.  " His piece, the first in a series about getting started, offers lessons he has learned about the nature of thinking, and a productive way to start the A3 by recognzing it as a thinking process.    More »
Who Owns Your A3? (Part Two)
By: Reich, Mark | December 4, 2012
In this second of two columns, Mark Reich explains why people must own their A3 reports as a means of developing their ability to properly analyze a problem using facts and logic, and learning to build consensus in the organization as to how and why this problem must be addressed. More »
Toyota’s Secret: The A3 Report
By: Shook, John | July 30, 2009
The A3 report, with its logical series of boxes and graphics, looks simple in layout but the underlying thought process is rigorous when practiced correctly. The payoff for companies that diligently apply "A3 thinking" is the creation of a method for solving problems, planning, collaborating, and mentoring everyone in scientific thinking. (Published by Sloan Management Review. Requires subscription or purchase) More »
Don't Present Your A3: Share Your A3
By: Ethington, Eric | December 11, 2012
A3 Coach Eric Ethington explains why he encourages people to share rather than present their A3s--and explains the reasons why this distinction helps foster productive teamwork and learning. More »
An interview with Gary Convis on A3 thinking and lean leadership
By: Convis, Gary | February 2, 2012
Lean veteran Gary Convis explains how the A3 report serves as a flexible tool that develops leaders and aligns important goals across plants, divisions, and even countries.    More »
Why A3s Won’t Work in My Organization (Part One)
By: Ethington, Eric | November 9, 2011
Coach Eric Ethington shares obstacles you may be encountering as you implement A3 thinking--and suggests ways to proceed. More »
What Level of a Problem Requires an A3?
By: Richardson, Tracey | August 1, 2011
Here are some thoughts to help you determine what type of problem you have, and how to apply A3 thinking to it most productively. You may not always need a full A3 at all--just the underlying thinking. More »
It Takes 2 (or more) to A3
By: Womack, Jim | October 7, 2008
The A3 process—Discovery at Toyota and What It Can Do for You
By: Shook, John | October 1, 2008
“The most fundamental use of the A3 is as a simple problem-solving tool. But the underlying principles and practices can be applied in any organizational settings. Given that the first use of the A3 as a tool is to standardize a methodology to understand and respond to problems, A3s encourage root cause analysis, reveal processes, and represent goals and action plans in a format that triggers conversation and learning.  " - John Shook, Lean Management column, Oct. 2008. More »
Using A3 Problem Solving to Make the Thinking Process Visible
By: Liker, Jeffrey, and Convis, Gary | January 26, 2012
In this excerpt from The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership, authors Jeff Liker and Gary Convis share a story of how Gary learned the value of A3 leadership during his time at NUMMI.    More »
Who Owns Your A3? (Part One)
By: Reich, Mark | November 27, 2012
LEI Director of Strategy and Operations Mark Reich shares how he learned a key lesson from his time at Toyota: always ask who owns the A3 in process. More »
Jim Womack discusses the state of the lean movement, and compares the A3 management process with traditional modern management
April 15, 2013
Articles; Videos and Webinars
Addressing workshop attendees during a lunch break, Jim Womack, management expert and Lean Enterprise Institute founder, discusses the state of the lean movement, and compares the A3 management process with traditional modern management. More »
Strategy Deployment In Action: One Executive's Perspective - Follow up Q & A
By: Dennis, Pascal and David Brule | June 3, 2009
Articles; Videos and Webinars
Webinar presenters David Brule and Pascal Dennis answer questions from their webinar about strategy deployment on March 12, 2009. More »
Managing to Learn (Introduction)
By: Shook, John | October 8, 2006
Introduction to Managing to Learn.  At Toyota, where I worked for more than 10 years, the way of thinking about problems and learning from them for more effective planning, decision-making, and execution is one of the secrets of the company’s success. The process by which the company identifies, frames, and then acts on problems and challenges at all levels—perhaps the key to its entire system of developing talent and continually deepening its knowledge and capabilities—can be found in the structure of its A3 process.  Read the rest of the Introduction. More »
Why Do Problem-Solving Projects Fail?
By: Marchwinski, Chet | May 30, 2012
You've probably participated in problem-solving projects that have fallen short of expectations. Why did they fail? Eric Ethington, a fellow at the Lean Enterprise Institute, explains why traditional problem-solving processes come up short in two key areas. More »
Managing to Learn (Chapter 1)
By: Shook, John | October 8, 2006
Chapter 1 of Managing to Learn.  The term “A3” refers to an international-size piece of paper, one that is approximately 11-by-17 inches. Within Toyota and other lean companies, the term means much more.  Toyota’s insight many years ago was that every issue an organization faces can and should be captured on a single sheet of paper. This enables everyone touching the issue to see through the same lens. While the basic thinking for an A3 (see pages 8–9) follows a common logic, the precise format and wording are flexible, and most organizations tweak the design to fit their unique requirements.  More »
Think Before You Leap
By: Verble, David | July 25, 2012
In this second of a series on getting started with your A3, coach David Verble shares why clarifing what you know--and others don't--is a vital first step in producing a productive A3. More »
Managing to Learn (Foreword by Jim Womack)
By: Shook, John | October 8, 2006
Foreword, by Jim Womack, to the book Managing to Learn.  "I’m enormously excited about this book. John Shook’s Managing to Learn seeks to answer a simple but profound question: What is at the heart of lean management and lean leadership?"In addressing this question, Managing to Learn helps fill in the gap between our understanding of lean tools, such as value-stream mapping, and the sustainable application of these tools.  "Read the rest of the foreword. More »
Developing PDSA Capabilities
By: Karen Martin | September 10, 2012
Improvement kata and A3 management have become popular ways for developing and practicing plan-do-study (or check)-act capabilities. What’s the connection between them? When do you use one or the other? Lean thinker Karen Martin explains both and offers guidance in Chapter 4 of her book The Outstanding Organization (McGraw-Hill, 2012) . An excerpt is reprinted here with permission. More »
What Exactly Is The Problem You Are Trying To Address?
By: Verble, David | September 25, 2012
A3 coach David Verble asks a key question about getting started: do you know exactly what problem you are trying to address? And he shares why having a questioning mind engenders productive A3 work.    More »
What Is Your Purpose? Who Is Your Audience?
By: Verble, David | August 8, 2012
In this article, the third in a series of starting your A3, sensei David Verble suggest that you reflect more on the purpose of your A3 and match it to your audience. More »
Helpful Coaching? Part One: Who Says What’s Helpful?
By: Verble, David | November 27, 2012
David Verble, a lean practitioner and Lean Enterprise Institute faculty member, offers advice for what kind of coaching is helpful for people with problem solving responsibility -- and what isn't. More »
Lean Lexicon 5th Edition Preview
January 21, 2014
A3 ReportA Toyota-pioneered practice of getting the problem, the analysis,the corrective actions, and the action plan down on a single sheetof large (A3) paper, often with the use of graphics. At Toyota, A3reports have evolved into a standard method for summarizingproblem-solving exercises, status reports, and planning exerciseslike value-stream mapping.  A3 paper is the international term for paper 297 millimeters wide and420 millimeters long. The closest U.  S. paper size is the 11-by-17 inchtabloid sheet.  See: Value-Stream Mapping More »
Tools Are Not the Purpose
By: Ethington, Eric | October 24, 2011
Coach Eric Ethington shares his experience about learning how A3 thinking must always be the guiding principle when using A3 (and related) tools More »
Forward to Fundamentals Webinar with John Shook and Jim Womack, Written Transcript
By: Shook, John; Jim Womack | April 23, 2009
Articles; Videos and Webinars
In recent years, most discussions around lean transformation have understandably evolved toward more managerial and strategic matters. Yet there remains an alarming lack of solid implementation of the fundamentals! In this current economic crisis we can actually move our lean journeys forward faster by looking back to the lessons that led to the creation of TPS in the weakened Japanese economy following World War II. This webinar is designed to uncover the deep roots of the original lean thinking and tools and how you can better focus your own lean implementation plans and execution.  This webinar features Jim Womack, Chairman More »
Are You Being SMART?
By: Richardson, Tracey | June 28, 2012
Coach Tracey Richardson shares five key qualities that should inform your A3 thinking.    More »
“A Roadmap to Lean Healthcare Success” Webinar: Follow-up Questions and Answers
May 2, 2013
The Lean Enterprise Institute's webinar "A Roadmap to Lean Healthcare Success" with John Toussaint, MD, CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, drew thousands of Lean Thinkers from North America and around the world who had more questions than we could answer in 60 minutes.  Most of the questions fell into several themes such as leadership, sustaining gains, involving people, and the A3 management process. What follows are your questions representing those themes and Dr. Toussaint’s follow-up replies.  Dr. Toussaint will go into even more details about lean healthcare at the 4th Annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit, June 5-6, More »
White Paper: Strategy Deployment
By: ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value | May 7, 2011
A new whitepaper from the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value tells the story of the "strategy deployment" management method at three healthcare organizations: ThedaCare, Group Health, and St. Boniface Hospital. All three are members of the Healthcare Value Leaders Network.  Strategy deployment is also the focus of a new DVD titled "Thinking Lean at ThedaCare: Strategy Deployment.  "From the paper:Strategy deployment is a management process that helps executives to focus and align their organizations around the most important goals. Goals and plans are cascaded down and up in an organization — senior leadership to middle management to frontline staff and More »
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