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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. 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 »
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 »
Frame the Work For Safety and Learning
By: Amy C. Edmondson | November 15, 2019
Columns
The most important skill to master as a leader is that of framing the work, says Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson. Frames consist of assumptions or beliefs that we layer onto reality. All of us frame objects and situations automatically. Great leaders understand this and manage frames intentionally. More »
Ask Art: Why is Takt Time So Important in a Lean Turnaround?
By: Art Byrne | November 13, 2019
Columns
Takt time represents the beat of the customer, or, the rate of demand, says Art Byrne: "As the primary focus of the lean company is delivering more value to its customers than its competitors can, then conformity to their demands in a quick, efficient way is the main driver. Takt time is therefore what sets the tone for everything else.  " More »
How We Improved Our Tiered Daily Huddles
By: Nathan Hurle | November 8, 2019
Columns
At Cleveland Clinic, where he leads a continuous improvement team, Nate Hurle and others have discovered ways to build on success with their tiered daily huddles. More »
Overcoming a Fear Of Failure Culture
By: Andrew Quibell | November 6, 2019
Columns
Managers and teams can overcome the elements of a fear of failure culture, argues Andrew Quibell. His piece illustrates steps to tackle this important challenge. More »
Lean at Heart: Kanban
By: Masia Goodman | November 1, 2019
Columns
The underlying principles of lean can be found everywhere in daily life. In this article Masia Goodman identifies examples of "Better" practices that overlap with known lean principles. More »
How A3 Presentations Help Us Build Teamwork
By: Nicolas Chartier | October 30, 2019
Columns
CEO Nicolas Chartier shares a huge benefit of regular use of A3 among his team: "You realize as a CEO that you’re more useful as organizing conditions for teamwork than being the one who knows everything and decides everything. Teamwork cannot be done without you, knowledge and decision can be done without you.  " More »
Why We Believe that Lean is More Than A Manufacturing Approach
By: Lean Sensei Women | October 25, 2019
Columns
Is Lean thinking a thing of the past from glorious manufacturing times in the late twentieth century? Or, on the other hand, is it possible that Lean is still the best approach today to address ever-more-complex human endeavors? Read the thoughts of these Lean sensei women on the topic. More »
The Power of Inspiration
By: Paige Henry | October 23, 2019
Columns
Lean thinker Paige Henry shares a call to action: let’s get our leaders and people to realize “it’s about the think” to prevent problems happening in the first place, and when they do, that we need to enable them to think of multiple countermeasures rather than going with the solution that “they’ve seen/used a million times before.  ” More »
Want Better Relations and Results from Suppliers? Hear Two Execs Explain the Benefits of "Matched Pair” Leadership
By: Susan DeSandre, Chet Marchwinski and Jim Morgan | October 18, 2019
Columns
New products and service development does not stop at the exterior walls of your company. Outside suppliers play critical roles, but the relationships between companies and suppliers are often akin to cage fighting. That's where the innovative “matched pair” process comes in to dramatically improve relationships as well as business performance. Listen to a matched pair of executives describe the process. 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 »
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