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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 »
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 »
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. More »
Step 1,Skills to Coach for Development: 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 »
Double Loop Learning at Kongsberg Maritime
By: Daryl Powell and Eivind Reke | October 18, 2018
Columns
Kongsberg Maritime, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Norwegian-based Kongsberg Group, tapped into a Kyoryokukai, or network for supplier innovation, to create a space for single--and double--loop learning for its members. More »
How to Engage Employees Through Creativity
By: Nicole Hudson | October 17, 2018
Columns
Is your company or department struggling to engage employees? Then learn from LifeWay Christian Resources, which moved away from a top-down, tool-oriented approach to continuous improvement training to a focus on engaging and developing people with thematic events and instruction. More »
Ask Art: Does Lean Really Work in A Non-manufacturing Company?
By: Art Byrne | October 16, 2018
Columns
All companies and organizations, whether manufacturing or not, are nothing more than a group of people and a bunch of processes trying to deliver value to a set of customers, says Art Byrne. And lean principles apply to each. To become lean, every company must focus on removing the waste in their current processes in order to deliver more value to the customers. More »
Jishuken, Part Two: The Power of Self-Learning
By: Mark Reich | October 11, 2018
Columns
Consider Jishuken to be an intensive effort to drive individuals and the organization to a higher level, says Mark Reich, noting that if done right, this practice should push everyone to do more and more, improving in cycles of intense, focused effort with something that leaves a strong residue of kaizen spirit behind and allows the company to sustain. More »
The Value of Sharpening Skills Through 'Jishuken'
By: Matthew Savas | October 10, 2018
Columns
Jishuken, or self-learning, is a wet stone that grinds a worker's brain down to a start point, says Matt Savas--and is key to a disciplined management system of learning and improvement. More »
Workers Unite for Better
By: Josh Howell | October 8, 2018
Columns
The local strike by hospitality workers in Boston has led Josh Howell to contrast this situation with the lean culture at Dreamplace Hotels and Resorts in Tenerife, where front-line workers produce and socialize beautifully messy A3-sized papers sharing ideas for improvements. More »
Thoughts on Digitization, Work, and Continuous Improvement
By: John Drogosz | October 4, 2018
Columns
The opportunities and changes presented by digitization are issues for all lean practitioners not only those in IT. Here are some additional insights from a lean practitioner and product developer who participated in a panel discussion on what’s happening now -- and what could happen -- as digitization meets lean management principles and practices. More »
Not Every Problem Is a “Nail” But Companies Typically Reach for the Same Old “Hammer”
By: Art Smalley | October 1, 2018
Columns
Learn how you can avoid the frustrating, ineffective, but widespread “hammer-and-nail” problem-solving pitfall by recognizing four main problem types so you apply the right problem-solving approach to the right problem. More »
Four Types of Problems
By: Art Smalley | October 1, 2018
Books
When faced with a problem, many business leaders and teams mechanically reach for a familiar problem-solving methodology. The problem is that the methodology is often mismatched with the problem, creating unnecessary struggle, frustration, delay, and ineffectiveness in solving the problem -- if it is ever solved at all. In Four Types of Problems: from reactive troubleshooting to creative innovation veteran lean management practitioner Art Smalley, explains why settling on a favorite problem-solving technique or two is a mistake. He shows that most business problems fall into four main categories, each requiring different thought processes, management cadences, and improvement methods. More »
Can Lean Know-How Come Home?
By: Eric Buehrens | September 27, 2018
Columns
When you decide to stop making things, you lose the ability to make things, argues Eric Buehrens: not just the displaced assembly workers who have had to seek employment elsewhere, but the design, production control, maintenance and quality engineers, the materials and logistics experts, all the technical know-how to manufacture effectively at scale, at world-class quality, and competitive cost. More »
Use Lean Development Principles to Avoid "Traveling Hopefully" Down the Wrong Path
By: Jim Morgan | September 26, 2018
Columns
Lean development is less about creating highly detailed plans based on things you can’t possibly know in the beginning of a development program (like conventional development attempts to do), and more about developing a deeper and shared understanding of the work to be done and increasing fidelity as you close knowledge gaps over time. More »
No Space to Think
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | September 24, 2018
Columns
Tracey and Ernie Richardsons talk about "space to think," leadership by employers and employees, the state of the lean management movement, and being a “sponge” rather than an expert. More »
Developing Meta-Habits at Baptist Memorial Memphis Hospital Emergency Department
By: Brandon Brown | September 20, 2018
Columns
After teeing up a problem in the Baptist Memorial Memphis Hospital ED using a Kata routine, Nursing Manager Melanie Mays now sees the need to experiment with a new process and allow it to surface obstacles before developing and testing a hypothesis. More »
Deploying Improvement Habits: From Starter Kata to Meta-Habits
By: Brandon Brown | September 19, 2018
Columns
Learners using the Kata routine approach every problem with the “skeleton” of the Kata routine, and understand that they are not experimenting to the solution, says Brandon Brown. They use experiments to find obstacles that prevent them from operating in the target condition. More »
Lean Transformation? Not Buying It
By: Mike Orzen | September 17, 2018
Columns
Companies often describe their transformation efforts in terms of an end-state: focusing on targeted results. They see transformation as a noun--a specific target or condition they wish to attain at a point in time. This paradigm prevents them from viewing transformation as a verb - a way of being they need to live every day. More »
Ask Art: Why Does Boosting Inventory Turns Matter So Much?
By: Art Byrne | September 13, 2018
Columns
If you want to deliver more value to our customers such that you can grow and gain market share then you should certainly focus on reducing inventory, says Art Byrne. Doing so frees up cash and capacity, boosts flow, and pushes you to solve problems as they crop up. More »
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