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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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
How Hoshin Kanri Aligns Your Key Organizational Systems
By: Mark Reich | October 16, 2019
Columns
Think of hoshin (strategy alignment) like the human body, argues Mark Reich: The body needs a strong skeletal structure (hoshin) to hold it together (just like an organization). But a body can’t move effectively if its muscles (continuous improvement) are not kept active and developed as well. More »
Why Doesn't Lean Have a Seat at the Table?
By: Steven Spear | October 11, 2019
Columns
Why hasn’t Lean spread more widely, asks Steven Spear, suggesting that it has not been framed in a way that addresses the strategic concern of managers. Instead it is primarily taught as just tools. And let’s face it, the licensed electricians don’t get a seat at the table. More »
Ask Art: At What Pace Should A Lean Turnaround Be Implemented?”
By: Art Byrne | October 9, 2019
Columns
Changing from a traditional batch, make-the-month culture to a lean value driven culture takes a lot of time and effort, says Art Byrne. The faster you go, the sooner you willsee the enormous benefits of lean. Also, the faster you go the less backsliding you will see and the changes will become permanent. So be bold, go as fast as you can. More »
Smitten Engineers or Love at First Sight of a Solution?
By: Chet Marchwinski and Tyler Schilling | October 4, 2019
Columns
Entrepreneur Tyler Schilling has felt the pain of engineering heartbreak – falling in love early with a solution only to realize later in the project that the idea you are wedded to is fundamentally flawed. The cure for developing an early crush on solutions is set-based design but implementing it takes a change in company culture, as he explains in this candid iterview. More »
Believe in One Thing All the Way
By: Darril Wilburn | October 2, 2019
Columns
Who is a “superhero” in our companies, asks Darril Wilburn in this inspiring piece: Is it the person that can outperform nine others by three times? Or is it the person that can improve a process by 10% and then share that improvement with the 9 other people, and then do it again and again? More »
The Mythical Value Stream Manager
By: Mike Orzen | September 27, 2019
Columns
If you want to make a serious impact in your improvements, consider shifting your focus outward to a value-stream level perspective and find someone who is willing to take on the role of value stream leader, suggest Mike Orzen. More »
Warning: What You Call Kaizen May Really Be Rework
By: Chet Marchwinski and Jim Morgan | September 25, 2019
Columns
If you begin your lean management transformation on the shop floor, you run the risk of having to rework processes and products that should have been much, much better coming out of the development system. So, if you want the best leverage point for a lean transformation, move upstream from production to product development. Jim Morgan, LEI author and Rivian COO explains in this interview. More »
Book Review: The Toyota Engagement Equation by Tracey and Ernie Richardson
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | September 20, 2019
Columns
In their book The Toyota Engagement Equation, authors Tracey and Ernie Richardson don’t hit you over the head telling you what to do or how to think per se; instead they share how they learned what they know, and in so doing, invite you to think along the same lines. More »
Ask Art: What Foundational Items Must I Be A Zealot About?
By: Art Byrne | September 18, 2019
Columns
Be a zealot on the foundational items such as 5S, visual management, and setup reduction, says Art Byrne, and your chances of succeeding with lean will greatly increase. More »
What Is Your Leadership Model?
By: Nicolas Chartier | September 13, 2019
Columns
In this reflection based on his work as CEO Lean is a leadership model: for more than 60 years now it has been developed, analyzed, tested, adapted; largely by Toyota but also by many others, copying, adding, evolving. More »
Towards A More Lean Statement of Purpose
By: Orest (Orry) Fiume | September 11, 2019
Columns
Reflecting on a recent Business Roundtable statement pledging a commitment to all of its stakeholders (and not simply maximizing shareholder value, Orry Fiume reminds us how core Lean values overlap with this new stated mission. More »
I'm Josh Howell, Ask Me Anything
By: Josh Howell | September 6, 2019
Columns
Since becoming LEI’s president a few months ago, Josh Howell has made it a priority to talk with you and visit your workplaces as much as possible. Please join in an Ask-Me-Anything conversation with Josh by sharing questions you have about the lean movement and the business struggles and problems you face. More »
Getting the Right Product Right, and Other Product Development Trends
By: John Drogosz | September 4, 2019
Columns
As a lean product and process development coach John Drogosz, PhD, works closely with companies in a variety of industries that are redesigning development systems to consistently design and deliver a progression of market-leading products and services. He took a time out at the annual Designing the Future Summit to talk about the product development trends he is seeing. More »
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