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Mike Rother

Mike Rother

Engineer, Researcher, Teacher and Speaker, Rother & Company
Mike is co-author of two groundbreaking LEI workbooks, Learning to See: value-stream mapping to add value and eliminate muda, which received a Shingo Research Award in 1999 and Creating Continuous Flow: an action guide for managers, engineers and production associates, which received a Shingo Award in 2003. He co-developed the accompanying Training to See kit that teaches facilitators how to run value-stream mapping workshops. His latest book is Toyota Kata (McGraw-Hill). Mike is an engineer, a researcher, teacher, consultant, and speaker on the subjects of management, leadership, improvement, adaptiveness, and change in human organizations. His affiliations have included the Industrial Technology Institute (Ann Arbor), the University of Michigan College of Engineering, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (Stuttgart), and the Technical University Dortmund. Mike began his career in the manufacturing division of Thyssen AG in Germany. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI, and Cologne, Germany.
Articles by Mike Rother
Thinking About Thinking
Don't believe everything you think. Practice scientific thinking and test your assumptions, because every step is an experiment! More »
Scientific Thinking for Everyone
Scientific thinking is not difficult, it's just not our default mode. Anyone can learn to think more scientifically, by practicing the simple Starter Kata routines of the Improvement Kata. More »
A Kata Classic
The research that led to the book Toyota Kata ran from 2004 - 2009. The objective was to gain a deeper understanding of how Toyota manages people in order to achieve continuous improvement and adaptation, and what it will take to develop that in non-Toyota organizations. More »
Where Does Our Curiosity Go?
As children we seem to be naturally curious and try things in a kind of scientific manner, but as we get older our exploratory mindset seems to fade. Why does this happen? More »
WHAT IS LEAN ABOUT?
The Kata SlideShare for January presents some thoughts (and video) as we in the Lean community mark the 25th Anniversary of the introduction of Lean as a paradigm in 'The Machine that Changed the World.  ' There have been many definitions of Lean, but the cool idea of "Humans striving to better flow value to a customer" is a mindset that perhaps underlies all of them. More »
HOW KATA FITS IN
With this month's SlideShare Mike and Jeff address a common question in the Lean community: "How do the Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata fit with our existing improvement process?" Answer: As the SlideShare illustrates, Kata is about developing the essential scientific thinking that underlies Lean practices and Lean results. And.  .. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO US ALL!   More »
EUROPEAN LEAN EDUCATOR CONFERENCE REMARKS
This month's SlideShare is composed of the slides and comments Mike Rother presented at the recent 'European Lean Educator Conference', which are relevant to anyone who wants to teach or learn scientific thinking. More »
HOW TO DEPLOY THE IMPROVEMENT KATA
This month's IK/CK SlideShare is a detailed description of how to deploy a Coach/Learner structure in your organization, to teach people the scientific patterns of the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata. We've been evolving this SlideShare based on our experiences since it was first posted in 2011. Use it as a guide for your own deployment efforts! More »
TWO MINDSET OBSTACLES TO EFFECTIVE LEARNING
This SlideShare looks at two common mindsets that can prevent us from learning new skills. A team or organization that wants to develop a culture of continuous improvement will do well to use some structured practice routines -- Kata -- for developing people's scientific skills, especially at the beginning. More »
It's About Best Practicing
"Just like practicing to learn to play an instrument, practicing the Improvement Kata helps us learn to view uncertainty more as an opportunity," writes Mike Rother. With this scientific thinking pattern, the lean practitioner begins to think, "“I’ve never done that before, but I know how to figure it out and find the way.  ” More »
PDCA FAST START
THE NEW FILE IS AT:  http://www.  slideshare.  net/mike734/ikck-practice-kit.  This SlideShare gives you step-by-step instructions for initial practice of the IK/CK patterns.  Anyone can use it right now. More »
ARE WE USING THE 5 WHYS INCORRECTLY?
FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION. Like several Lean concepts of the 20th Century, we should perhaps revisit our interpretation of this one. The 5 Whys may be more brainstorming technique than problem-solving technique. See also: http://goo.  gl/pVKilS More »
THE COACHING KATA CHAIN OF COACHING
There's a lot of interest in what the Coach/Learner dialog looks like when it's extended across all levels of an organization. It's useful to have a picture of what you're working toward, which is what this SlideShare shows you. Also see: http://theleanthinker.  com/2013/08/18/the-struggle/ More »
WHO IS THE LEAN STAFF'S CUSTOMER?
If you want to succeed, figure out how you can improve your customer's life. More »
PRACTICAL APPROACH FOR STRATEGY DEPLOYMENT
This SlideShare is almost equivalent to a workbook. Download it, study it, and discover how your organization can (finally) achieve Strategy Deployment. More »
GET BETTER AT ACHIEVING LEAN GOALS
We often mistake confident predictions and plans for accurate ones. But the more humility we have about our predictions, the more successfully we can iterate our way to the future. More »
THE ROLE OF THE LEAN COACH
Here's one for discussion.  .. a useful way to look at Lean coaching. More »
5 QUESTIONS TO ACTIVATE YOUR TEAM
Use the 5 Question card daily to systematically create forward motion in your team. More »
THE FIVE COACHING KATA QUESTIONS
The Five Questions are a pattern and routine that's central to coaching the Improvement Kata. More »
RETIRE THE PDCA WEDGE?
Thank you LEI for letting us share ideas & findings. Some things we in the Lean community have learned to believe may not actually be true. For our first posting we invite you to take a look -- and think about -- this discussion starter. More »
Why Lean Programs Fail
Jeffrey Liker and Mike Rother, two award-winning authors and lean practitioners, discuss what has been missing from lean transformations. More »
What Are We Learning Since We Started Learning to See?
LEI author Mike Rother offers lessons from the field about applying value-stream mapping. More »
Value-Stream Mapping in a Make-to-Order Environment
Tips from LEI author Mike Rother on applying value-stream mapping and continuous flow in high-variety, custom manufacturing environments. More »
Books by Mike Rother
Learning to See Learning to See
Value-stream maps are the blueprints for lean transformations and Learning to See is an easy-to-read, step-by-step instruction manual that teaches this valuable tool to anyone, regardless of his or her background. This groundbreaking workbook, which has introduced the value-stream mapping tool to thousands of people around the world, breaks down the important concepts of value-stream mapping into an easily grasped format.   The workbook, a Shingo Research Prize recipient in 1999, is filled with actual maps, as well as engaging diagrams and illustrations.    More »
Toyota Kata Toyota Kata
This game-changing book puts you behind the curtain at Toyota, providing new insight into the legendary automaker's management practices and offering practical guidance for leading and developing people in a way that makes the best use of their brainpower. Drawing on six years of research into Toyota's employee-management routines, Toyota Kata examines and elucidates, for the first time, the company's organizational routines—called kata—that power its success with continuous improvement and adaptation. The book also reaches beyond Toyota to explain issues of human behavior in organizations and provide specific answers to questions such as: How can we make improvement and adaptation More »
Workshops Taught by Mike Rother
Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata What is a Kata? A kata is a pattern you practice to learn a skill and mindset. Through practice the pattern of a kata becomes second nature - done with little conscious attention - and readily available. Examples are riding a bicycle, driving a car, typing. People who have learned to drive don't think much about using the car's controls. They focus on navigating the road ahead. More »
Value-Stream Mapping for Manufacturing Learn how to use this fundamental initial step in a lean transformation to create the "blueprints" for applying other tools and targeting kaizen events most effectively. More »