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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Problem Solving:   In a lean transformation or any process improvement effort, identifying and closing gaps between current and target conditions.  In a lean management system, everyone is engaged in problem solving, guided by two key characteristics:Everything described or claimed in the problem-solving process (the problem itself; the target condition, the direct cause, the root cause) should  be based on verifiable facts, not assumptions and interpretations.   The burden of proof on the problem solver is emphasized through questions such as, How do you know that? Did you go to the gemba and grasp the actual condition first hand? How do you know you More »
Problem Solving Fast and Slow
By: Ben Root | July 15, 2014
Columns
"There are many paradoxes about the Toyota Production System," writes Ben Root. "Speed is certainly one of them. 'Do it slowly, but quickly.  '" Read more. More »
Problem Solving the Airlines
By: Danielle Blais | December 20, 2013
Columns
Rarely are process problems so clear as during the holidays! Have ideas for how to improve your air travel experience? Lean coach Danielle Blais does, too. Read more about what we can learn from travel stress! More »
Problem Solving to Align Purpose, Process and People
Workshops
This is an expanded version of our 1-day Lean Problem Solving workshop which is offered exclusively in our office in Cambridge, MA. More »
Isn’t the obsession with problem solving unnecessarily negative and depressing?
By: Michael Ballé | February 3, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  Isn’t the obsession with problem solving unnecessarily negative and depressing? More »
Change Your “Pet” Problem Solving Method
By: Art Smalley | May 20, 2019
Columns
Got problems with your problem-solving method? This interview by LEI's Chet Marchwinski with Four Types of Problems author Art Smalley shares advice on how you can "change your 'pet' problem-solving method.  " More »
WLEI: Four Types of Problems, author Art Smalley digs in on problem solving
By: Lean Enterprise Institute | December 21, 2018
Audio
Author Art Smalley joins Chet Marchwinski to discuss problem solving and his new book Four Types of Problems from reactive trouble shooting to creative innovation.  Additional Articles and Books:Four Types of ProblemsBook Review: Four Types of ProblemsNot Every Problem Is a “Nail” But Companies Typically Reach for the Same Old “Hammer” More »
Assessing Problem Solving Capability in Job Candidates: A True Account
By: Derrick Redding | July 25, 2017
Columns
Last month, Derrick Redding shared three questions that you can ask job candidates to assess their problem-solving capacity. As a followup, he is now sharing a real-life example of a time when these questions helped him do just that - without ever once talking about work. Read more. More »
Getting Religious About Problem Solving
By: Lean Leaper | July 19, 2017
Columns
Have you ever heard of a lean transformation guided by scriptures? The people at LifeWayChristian Resources' distribution center in Tennessee have! Whenever possible, they use passages from the Bible to exemplify the principles in their lean training materials. Find out how. More »
Practical Guidance for Using Humble Inquiry in PDCA Problem Solving and Coaching
November 13, 2015
Articles
David Verble, a Toyota veteran and LEI faculty member, explains to lean coaches and continuous improvement professionals why "Humble Inquiry" is a core problem-solving skill and how to start using it. More »
Why Effective Problem Solving Begins With a Good Problem Statement
By: Dave LaHote | January 7, 2015
Columns
"Let’s solve world peace" or "let’s state our predetermined solution as a problem" aren't real problem statements, says Dave LaHote. Read why a good problem statement is so important, why it's harder than you think to come up with one, and learn how to write a better one. More »
Lean Talks: Problem Solving with ThoughtWorks
By: Kevin Kriner | May 9, 2014
Columns
Kevin Kriner, an agile project manager at ThoughtWorks, gives a short "Lean Talk" on what he's learned about root cause analysis at the Lean Transformation Summit 2014, including how root cause analysis develops people and strengthens teams. More »
Building Problem Solving Muscle at University of Michigan Health System
By: Jeanne Kin | December 13, 2013
Columns
"We are beginning to realize the wisdom of Henry Ford’s adage: 'There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems,.  ..  '" More »
For Athletic Shoe Company, the Soul of Lean Management Is Problem Solving
By: Chet Marchwinski | June 24, 2008
Case Studies; Charts, Graphs and Diagrams
When it began a lean transformation in 2003, New Balance, the only athletic shoe manufacturer that still makes some products in the U.  S.  , focused on using lean tools to improve product flow through its five New England plants to retailers and final customers. Next, with help from the Toyota Supplier Support Center, management began organizing the change effort around problem solving and process improvement to create a culture that would engage the workforce while moving the company to higher level. More »
Lean Problem Solving
Workshops
Harness the DNA of successful, sustainable lean implementations. You'll learn and practice the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) problem-solving method in this interactive workshop. More »
Leading in a Continuous Improvement Culture: Engaging and Coaching Problem Solving Thinkers
Workshops
This program is designed to describe this new role you can play as a leader in a program solving culture. It will also introduce skills that will help you be effective in that role and give you opportunities to practice them. More »
Using Training Within Industry (TWI) Techniques for Rapid and Sustainable Problem Solving
Workshops
Join us for a workshop based on scientifically-proven Training Within Industry (TWI) techniques designed to help you and your team (and the organization) learn faster. We will practice in real time through a lock-building simulation. More »
Recognizing Effective PDCA Problem Solving
Workshops
This workshop will review the basic six-step PDCA process for investigating problems and deciding the most effective ways to eliminate them. It is intended to help leaders and coaches develop the listening and observation skills to recognize and model sound PDCA problem solving based on grasp of actual conditions. It will also prepare leaders to facilitate teams in PDCA thinking and coach employees to develop the skills to apply the process on their own. More »
Online - Introduction to Problem Solving
Workshops
In this course, you will learn to grasp the situation at the gemba and use all your senses to understand what is truly happening. All too often, people create countermeasures to perceived problems without digging deeper or thinking more, that is, learning at the gemba to grasp the actual situation of the problem. More »
The Art of Lean: Must-Knows for Coaching the Corrective-Action Phase of Problem-Solving, Part 1
By: Art Smalley | July 3, 2020
Columns
Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Inc.  , shares a problem-solving coaching tip that he developed and likes to use with his clients. Learn how you can adapt the "A.  D.  P. Method" to improve success in the corrective-action phase of your problem-solving approach. More »
Lean Roundup: Hoshin Kanri
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | July 2, 2020
Columns
Hoshin Kanri, described as "a management system that allows the organization to quickly and effectively adjust its priorities while engaging the team," has been the subject of numerous articles and an upcoming online class. Tom Ehrenfeld compiles a roundup of some great articles which share the practice and promise of Hoshin. More »
Learning to Face Challenges with Agility and Resilience
By: Steven Spear | June 26, 2020
Columns
In this excerpt from his book The High-Velocity Edge, Steven Spear explains how Toyota managed to adapt quickly to a catastrophic fire at one of its suppliers. He emphasizes that the company's internal qualities can benefit all companies seeking to be responsive to today's challenges. More »
How to A3: Resources for Developing Structured Problem-Solving and Leadership Skills
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | June 18, 2020
Columns
As LEI prepares its next course on Managing to Learn, here's a popular article rounding up a wealth of resources about practicing A3 Thinking by Tom Ehrenfeld More »
Ask Art: Why Does Setup Time Reduction Matter So Much?
By: Art Byrne | June 17, 2020
Columns
Setup reduction is a necessary step to go from traditional management to lean--or said another way, from batch to flow and from push to pull. According to Art Byrne, reducing this time may sound like some “manufacturing thing” but is in fact one of the most strategic things you can do. More »
How NOT to Jump to Solutions When Facing A Problem
By: Dan Markovitz | June 4, 2020
Columns
Dan Markovitz argues that productive leaders solve problems by leveraging a deep understanding of the facts, buffering them from the temptation to jump to solutions. Before you come up with a solution to a problem, go to the crime scene and see for yourself. Make sure you have the facts, not just the data. More »
Why Good Lean Detectives Visit the Crime Scene
By: Dan Markovitz | May 28, 2020
Columns
You can't solve a problem with data alone, says Dan Markovitz. He urges you to go to the "crime scene," the source of the problem, to gather the facts required for a full analysis of what has gone wrong. More »
Five Revolutions Into the Lean Journey: What's Next?
By: Daniel T. Jones | May 25, 2020
Columns
The current pandemic serves as an opportunity for us to rethink the world of enterprise (and more), says Dan Jones. He reflects on five lean revolutions, and he explores how, once Covid-19 passes, lean may continue to shape mindful and purposeful enterprise. More »
Pursuing Dreams, Facing Reality
By: Richard Sheridan | May 11, 2020
Columns
In this letter shared to his fellow Menloians, Rich Sheridan acknowledges the new reality they all must fact, and commits to making the most with the time that is given to all of them. More »
Furloughed Team Leverages Lean for a Good Cause: A Report from the #LeanCommunity
By: Lean Leaper | May 7, 2020
Columns
Eileen Fisher's product development team used lean thinking to design a work process that they'd never done before and under the constraints posed by the pandemic. More »
Addressing Production Challenges that Arise from the Pandemic
By: John Y. Shook | April 30, 2020
Columns
How two companies with deep lean experience – General Electric Appliances (GEA) and Herman Miller – have responded quickly and with great agility to the frontline challenges presented by the pandemic. More »
Problem-Solving During a Crisis: A quick tip from the #LeanCommunity
By: Lean Leaper | April 24, 2020
Columns
How to solve problems when there seems to be no time to do so. More »
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