Product & Process Development Articles

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How to Launch Better Products Faster

A veteran lean product and process development (LPPD) coach explains the similarities and differences between Agile and LPPD methodologies, clarifying…

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Craftsmanship – the Lost Art in Product Development

In his first job as an engine designer, Steve Shoemaker could visit 90 percent of final product value streams within…

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How an Established Company Disrupted an Industry

TechnipFMC confronted a crisis and redesigned its business model using Lean Product and Process Development.

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Crafting Quality Software: a Conversation with Robert Martin

In this episode of the WLEI podcast, LEI speaks with software industry pioneer Robert Martin about craftsmanship, AI, and the…

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The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection

"I began to notice that there was a sharp contrast between well-made, crafted products and poorly made ones, and an…

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From Concept to Reality: The Importance of Manufacturing Know-How in Product Development

This month’s Design Brief examines the know-how behind making things well, including how rigorous process development paired with product development…

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Front-Loading Cost Analysis: A Key Practice in Lean Product Development

Reduce development costs, minimize surprises, and deliver the products customers love with a front-loading approach.

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The Lean Community and the Second “P”

The second “P” in lean product and process development or LPPD is as important as the first “P.” At least…

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More Crisis Control at Boeing and the FAA – Some Lessons on Building in Quality from NUMMI

As Boeing grapples with recurring quality issues, this Design Brief article from John Shook explores how the NUMMI joint venture…

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Hardware Meets Software: Lean and Agile Lessons for Innovation

Our latest webinar features LEI Senior Advisor, Jim Morgan, and co-founder and CTO of software group Theodo, Fabrice Bernhard. They…

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The State of US Manufacturing and Its Role in Innovation: a Conversation with Ben Armstrong and Jim Morgan

Ben Armstrong and Jim Morgan explore America’s industrial past, assess its present, and discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie…

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Nine Tips to Better Process Development

Achieve exceptional results with your next product launch. Master nine proven techniques for designing successful, waste-free processes.

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Whatever Happened to Quality First: Rethinking Product Development in the Wake of Recalls and Catastrophic Failures

This Design Brief tackles the often-overlooked topic of building quality into new products. Learn how a customer-centric approach in development…

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Quality Leadership at the Forefront of Innovation: A Conversation with Jeri Ford of Lucid Motors 

Lucid Motors’ Vice President of Quality, Jeri Ford, shares lessons from the automotive industry on how to build a culture…

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From Concept to Perfection: Toyota’s GD3 Method Sets a New Standard in Product Quality

The innovative GD3 method can help you rethink product development to improve customer satisfaction, boost cost-effectiveness, avoid recalls, and prevent…

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Operations IS Your Customer

Discover how redefining operations as the primary customer of engineering can transform product development, enhance collaboration, and drive unprecedented improvements…

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Software’s Quality Leap: Three Lessons from Toyota’s Dantotsu Approach to Reduce Defects at Scale at Theodo

Bridging the gap between manufacturing and software, Theodo cofounder and CTO Fabrice Bernhard, explains the company’s transformative journey of applying…

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Designing Sustainable Value Streams

Download LEI's latest ebook on how Lean Product and Process Development enables organizations to design and deliver innovative, profitable, and…

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Designing for the Environment

Explore how Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) can lower carbon emissions and address other sustainability concerns.

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Developing Products Customers Love: Discussing Lean Product and Process Development with Two Retired Honda Leaders

LEI talks with Frank Paluch and Lara Harrington about developing the Honda Passport, the role of the chief engineer, and…

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Putting People First

LEI's lean product and process development coaches share the sixth of several guiding principles that will help you improve the…

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Teaming Up for Growth: Developing People and Technical Skills as They Develop Products.

The current LEI Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) Collaborative Study Team reports on the results of recent work to…

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Collaborating on Improving the Product Development Process

Members of LEI's Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group share their successful strategies.

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Teaming Up to Develop Better Products: Maximizing the Study Phase’s Impact

The current LEI Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) Collaborative Study Team reports on the results of recent work to…

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Designing the Value Stream

LEI's lean product and process development coaches share the fifth of several guiding principles that will help you improve the…

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Synchronizing Workflows

LEI's lean product and process development coaches share the fourth of several guiding principles that will help you improve the…

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Teaming Up to Overcome Common Business Challenges

By creating Collaborative Study Teams (CSTs), organizations learn together how to improve their product and process development performance.

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Empowering Frontline Operators with Human-Centric Technology: a Conversation with Natan Linder

LEI chats with author and entrepreneur Natan Linder about the potential of software to enable improvement among frontline workers.

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How to Improve Your Product Development Process

Members of LEI's Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group share their successful strategies.

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The Healing Power of Lean Product and Process Development in Healthcare

Can Lean Product and Process Development or LPPD, which evolved in the automotive industry, work in healthcare? Paul Paliani, who…

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How to Improve Decision-Making to Accelerate Product Development

GE Appliance’s next-generation dishwasher development team created a decision-flow mapping process to eliminate project delays.

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Lessons from a Chief Engineer on Starting and Sustaining Lean Product and Process Development

A Caterpillar executive shares his insights on applying LPPD principles.

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Why Value-Stream Mapping is Essential to Product and Process Development

Learn about a proven way to help cross-functional teams clearly “see” their work and achieve their full potential.

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How Purpose Shapes Culture

The author of Joy, Inc. reflects on the struggles and rewards of building a leadership culture that elevates human energy.

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Building in Learning and Knowledge Reuse

LEI's lean product and process development coaches share the third of several guiding principles that will help you improve the…

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Embracing Regret for Better Living: A WLEI Podcast with author Dan Pink

LEI chats with author Dan Pink about his new book and how it relates to retrospective outlooks and continuous improvement.

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Understanding Before Executing

LEI's lean product and process development coaches share the second of several guiding principles that will help you improve the…

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Developing Products is a Team Sport

LEI's lean product and process development coaches share the first of several guiding principles that will help you improve the…

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How to Design Products and Services a Diversifying Customer Base Will Love

A leading innovation and design researcher shares practices that will help you develop products and services that meet the needs…

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Designing the Future: A WLEI Podcast with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe and former COO Jim Morgan

LEI explores the early days and product development strategies of electrical-vehicle startup Rivian.

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How to Launch Great Products Your Customers Will Love

A product director describes how her team increased its new-product adoption rate from 25% to 81% in three years.

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Seeking Radical Quality in the Tech Industry

The CTO of a website design firm explains how a recent book on radical quality improvement in manufacturing inspired him…

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Why You Need a Better Process Development System

Two veteran lean product and process development coaches share the benefits of improving this critical, too often overlooked part of…

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Organizing for Successful Product and Process Development

This short video shows how one organization brought a large team together to learn what their customers value.

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Coach’s Corner: How To Put People First Using Lean Practices

A veteran lean product and process development coach explains what leaders must do to create a people-first culture.

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People-First Leadership: A Conversation Between Jim Morgan and Alan Mulally

Leading through challenging times means enhancing your work process and always looking to improve people's lives. Putting people first is…

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Why the Most Important Product Leaders Can Develop is Their Team

While new technology and innovative ideas may seem paramount to achieving development excellence, it's really the people within the teams…

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Leadership Lessons from Rivian: a Clip from WLEI

In a clip from one of our most popular podcasts, LEI President Josh Howell talks with electric car manufacturer Rivian's…

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Coach’s Corner: Designing the Entire Value Stream From Concept to Product End Life

Creating an environmentally-conscious value stream can be done with LPPD principles in mind. Just ask Katrina Appell, who explains how…

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Create Profitable Value Streams

Why does lean product development focus on building profitable value streams? LEI Senior Advisor John Shook explains in this month's…

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How Designing Value Streams, Not Just Products, Creates Competitive Advantage

TechnipFMC and Pella Corporation leaders describe how lean development practices helped them develop better products, create profitable value streams and…

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Coach’s Corner: Why Your Development Plans and Obeya Practices Aren’t Working – and How to Fix Them

If your development plans and obeya practices aren't working, you're not alone. John Drogosz offers ways to get the most…

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Contributor’s Corner: How Synchronizing Workflows Helped TechnipFMC Develop Its Latest Robot

Following the lean product and process development principles yields significant benefits. Just ask Scott Fulenwider and Hanna Schell as they…

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How Synchronizing Workflows Eliminates Waste in Development Processes

Two leaders share their secrets of effective value-stream mapping and synchronizing workflows.

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How Building in Learning and Knowledge Reuse Improves Product Development Success

Three leading practitioners share successful examples of how they built learning and knowledge reuse into their development process.

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How to Save Time and Money in Innovation by Reusing Knowledge

Massive books of knowledge or huge lists weren’t very effective ways of getting the engineers he managed to reuse knowledge,…

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Coach’s Corner: Understanding the Value of a Concept Paper

The Concept Paper's integral role at Toyota homes in on the process, encouraging questions and deeper understandings along the way.

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Front-Load Your Design Process By Using Set-Based Design

Jeffrey Liker highlights the benefits of set-based design in this in-depth reflection of his time working in product development at…

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Coach’s Corner: How to Design a Knowledge-Sharing System

Encouraging learning and knowledge reuse in your development process takes more than a system to capture it — you must…

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Contributor’s Corner: Learning With 10X Speed at US Synthetic

How rapid learning cycles helped the synthetic diamond manufacturer slash its idea-to-test turnaround time from 43 days to 4.5 days…

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Understand Before You Execute

Leading practitioners share the benefits of understanding this principle of lean product and process development.

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Understanding the 4S Help Chain, Part 2: Lessons from NUMMI on How to Adapt the Model to Product Development

How do you create an andon signal for your product and process development process? Matt Zayko, a technical coach for…

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How the Study Phase Helps You Create More Value for Your Customers and Less Drama for Your Development Teams

A product development team volunteered to pilot applying lean product and process development principles -- and discovered how critical "understanding…

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Coach’s Corner: The Four Critical Elements of Collaboration

The building blocks of purpose, process, and more lead to effective collaboration, as Eric Ethington highlights these fundamental elements and…

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Development is a Team Sport

Experts and executives join Jim Morgan in explaining how collaboration is vital to new product, process, and services development. Plus,…

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Pi Day: Exploring the Intersection of Science and Dessert

In recognition of Pi Day, think about how you might inspire future generations to pursue careers in science and technology…

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COACH’S CORNER: The 4 Critical Elements of Collaboration

Confronting a confounding but not uncommon problem when you're trying to collaborate.

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How Ford Built an Aligned Team Using ‘Matched Pairs’

Inside a winning strategy for Ford Motor Company's new product development process. 

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Why it’s Better to Focus on Value, Not Waste

Learn the benefits of shifting your focus from eliminating waste to increasing value, along with two of the best value-creating…

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How to Engage Everyone to Create a “Continuous Innovation Machine”

In a presentation to hundreds of engineers at a Fortune 100 manufacturer, Jim Morgan, an engineering PhD and former product…

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Lean Product & Process Development Guiding Principles At-A-Glance

An infographic summarizes the six guiding principles of lean product and process development.

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The 6 Guiding Principles of Lean Product and Process Development

Learn the six guiding principles of Lean Product and Process Development and how they can help your organization accelerate the…

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Practical Approaches for Making Innovation an Enterprise-Wide Activity

Jim Morgan tells an interviewer how to make innovation an enterprise-wide endeavor, based on his years of experience as a…

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The Role of Lean Product and Process Development in Building the Lean Enterprise

A distinguished group of lean leaders discusses the role of Lean Product and Process Development in building the lean enterprise…

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Changing the Way New Value is Created with Lean Product and Process Development

Learn the six guiding principles of LPPD and why they are critical to successful new product, process, and service development.

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Mining the Lessons From Designing the Future

Designing the Future shares a wealth of insights that transcend product development minutiae; this articles shares the broader argument presented…

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Lean Management Leaders Weigh in on Climate Change, Coronavirus, Innovation, and More

Jim Womack, founding CEO of the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), and Jim Morgan, an experienced product development executive, explained…

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The Second P in LPPD: Why the Future is About Lean Product and Process Development

Jim Womack, speaking at the Designing the Future summit in 2019, describes the thinking behind lean product and process development…

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Product Development Lessons from a Global Pandemic

How a Lean Product & Process Development (LPPD) approach would accelerate a Covid-19 vaccine.

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Understanding Lean Product and Process Development: An LEI Explainer Video

Learn what Lean Product & Process Development (LPPD) is, why it's critical in developing successful value streams, why companies struggle…

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Tapping Technology to Boost the Power of Lean: A Talk with Jeff Liker and Jim Morgan

What principles should guide lean thinkers as they introduce digital tools into their work? How about people, processes, and purpose,…

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Quick and Practical Tips for Effective Virtual Process Mapping

In the wake of new lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus, companies need ways for home-based team members…

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Why Product Focus is Customer Focus

How can you know your entire organization is aligned around delivering best in class value to your customer? Your product…

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“Too much, Too early” and other Common Pitfalls of Lean Product Development

Veteran product development coaches Eric Ethington and Matt Zayko provide insights about the most common mistakes they see companies make…

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Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, a Candid Conversation with Two CEs (Part 2)

Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills to effectively lead and manage the work of engineers, designers, and other developers.…

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Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, A Candid Conversation with Two CEs (Part 1)

Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills to effectively lead and manage the work of engineers, designers, and other developers.…

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Exploring the Technical and Nontechnical Challenges of Being a Chief Engineer, A Candid Conversation with Two CEs

Chief engineers typically have strong technical skills to effectively lead and manage the work of engineers, designers, and other developers.…

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Autonomous Car Beta Version, Anyone? A Q&A with Jim Womack on Disruptive Innovation

What may be ahead for carmakers, product developers, and the lean management movement in a disrupted world is the subject…

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Be More Innovative with These Resources and Ideas for Exploiting World-Shaping Trends

Great products and services begin with great ideas and great ideas are informed by the big trends that are shaping…

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How A Virtual Obeya Can Enable Effective Teamwork

As we are working socially distanced apart we need to create systems that enable us to effectively enable people to…

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Preventing Problems by Thinking Upstream: A Talk with Dan Heath

Tune in to the LEI podcast to catch a conversation with Dan Heath on his new book Upstream, which urges…

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Why You Need a Product Focus for an Enterprise Transformation: A Talk By Jim Morgan

In this talk from the 2018 Designing the Future summit, former Rivian COO and LEI Senior Advisor Jim Morgan discusses…

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Why You Need a Product Focus for Enterprise Transformation

Lean Product and Process Development serves as an enterprise activity that can engage the entire organization and improve operations and…

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The Value of A Visual Schedule is Developing Shared Understanding

People closest to the work should understand it best, so they are in the best position to share what the…

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Dealing with Standard Costing in Lean Organizations

If you are in the accounting department in a lean manufacturing company, and your company uses a standard costing system,…

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Are These Two Non-learning Trends Hurting Your Company Culture?

The beating heart of continuous improvement is learning, concludes author and product development executive Jim Morgan, who has done pioneering…

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Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group Update: Technical Organizations Share Common Practices to Spread the Learning

Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group Update: Technical Organizations Share  Common Practices to  Spread the Learning 

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Smitten Engineers or Love at First Sight of a Solution?

Entrepreneur Tyler Schilling has felt the pain of engineering heartbreak – falling in love early with a solution only to…

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Warning: What You Call Kaizen May Really Be Rework

If you begin your lean management transformation on the shop floor, you run the risk of having to rework processes…

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Getting the Right Product Right, and Other Product Development Trends

As a lean product and process development coach John Drogosz, PhD, works closely with companies in a variety of industries…

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Product Development Is Where to Cut Carbon Emissions; Here’s How

Consumers want products updated more frequently, which is great for consumers and business but not so great for the environment…

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The Dark Side of Concurrent Engineering

One of the fastest ways to reduce development lead time from concept to market is to work concurrently. But as…

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12 Wastes of Product & Process Development

The wastes found in manufacturing are well known and relatively visible. But as you move upstream into the very different…

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4 Core Principles of Lean Product and Process Development Explained

The ability to consistently create “insanely great” products, as Steve Jobs would say, is the ultimate competitive advantage. But many…

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Any advice for a team with a new boss who doesn’t know lean but wants us to switch to agile instead?

Dear Gemba Coach: We have a new boss who doesn’t know lean and is asking our lean team to switch…

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How Does LPPD Help Create a Lean Enterprise?

What is LPPD? As noted by Jim Morgan LPPD is a set of principles and practices that promote collaboration, transparency,…

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Join the Conversation and Stop the Rework

In the spring of 1997, as I was starting the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, I visited a company that I…

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Cutting Carbon Emissions and Product Costs Through Lean Product and Process Development

As the need to reduce carbon emissions becomes clearer, the need to understand the impact and consciously consider it during…

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Matched Pairs: To Improve Supplier Relationships, Start Inside Your Organization

Jim Morgan shares how adopting a Matched Pair strategy that teams supply chain and engineering leaders with a common plan,…

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A Little Bit of Lean Product and Process Development with Very Large Results

Believing it had only enough land and budget for a badly needed new parking garage, a hospital was able to build…

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Lean Principles Speed Workflow in New Product Development

After successfully implementing lean principals in manufacturing, Solar Turbines took them to product development processes, reducing firefighting and boosting development…

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Not So Simple: Pioneering Lean Product Development

Jean Cunningham, LEI’s executive chair, offers lessons from her time as CFO of lean management pioneer Lantech when it successfully…

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Process Excellence Means Developing New Processes Along with New Products

The traditional way of developing new products or services in isolation from the processes that must deliver them almost guarantees…

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As someone who is new to lean, is there something I’m not being told?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m new to lean, and I find it fascinating. Is there something I’m not being told? Is…

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Lean Is A Product-Driven Strategy

What is at the core of lean? Michael Balle argues, in terms of our best known example: "Toyota is not…

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Designed In Quality

Extraordinary quality is not only designed into the product, it is designed into the development process itself, says Jim Morgan,…

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Is value engineering just about cutting costs?

Dear Gemba Coach: My boss has hired a consultant to do value engineering, who has us looking for design opportunities…

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Pi-Day, Robots, and the Joy of Making Things

To mark Engineers Week, Feb. 18-23, we’re reprising a story about celebrating Pi Day by Jim and Mary Morgan, a…

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What If Elon Musk Took Manufacturing Cars Seriously?

Jeff Liker asks of Tesla: What if it took Toyota’s help seriously in learning basic manufacturing before undertaking disruptive technology…

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Lean Production Begins with LPPD

To create a "turbo-charged product-creating machine, start by designing clear processes with useful tools and a “people first” culture--which form…

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Transformative Steering

After three years of working with learning partner companies, LEI’s Lean Product and Process Development group observed that the companies…

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LPPD Under the Sea: Efficient Product Design with Subsea 2.0

In this excerpt from the new book Designing the Future, authors Jim Morgan and Jeff Liker share the case study…

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An Innovative Framework for Designing Better Products and Services – and a Better Future

Because of the enormous “shadow” it casts over the entire enterprise for years, product development literally designs the future of…

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Lean Digital Transformation

Discover how the application of lean principles can improve entire corporate ecosystems to deliver digital services and products that customers…

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Putting Passion on Your Dashboard

Understanding what customers value requires more than a marketing approach, says Dave Pericak, explaining how he learned about customer value…

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Review: Designing the Future

In his review of the new book Designing The Future, Michael Ballé points out that it “makes clear the central…

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Book Review: Designing the Future

Forget frameworks, processes, rote step methods. Read this book and think back to the “Why?” before the “What?” and “How?”:…

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Designing the Future Jim Morgan Talks Passion with Dave Pericak – A WLEI Special

In this special edition series, Designing the Future. Jim Morgan talks with Dave Pericak, the Chief Engineer of the 2015…

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Getting Started with Lean Product and Process Development

Learning and applying the concepts of LPPD is no different than learning any other new skill in life, says Andy…

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Don’t Retire Your Knowledge–Reuse It

Companies can tackle the problem of the surge of retiring baby boomers by adopting the lean principle of knowledge reuse,…

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Lean Product and Process Development Group Update: Leading Companies Share and Learn from Common Challenges

The Lean Enterprise Institute recently organized a meeting of the Lean Product and Process Development Learning Group that brought together…

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Thoughts on Digitization, Work, and Continuous Improvement

The opportunities and changes presented by digitization are issues for all lean practitioners not only those in IT. Here are…

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Use Lean Development Principles to Avoid “Traveling Hopefully” Down the Wrong Path

Lean development is less about creating highly detailed plans based on things you can’t possibly know in the beginning of…

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Toyota the Disrupter

Toyota may not be the first company you think of for disruptive product and process development, but perhaps they should…

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Fresh Eyes Bring Lean Problems into Clarity

“Fresh eyes” reviews are an indispensible part of developing new value. It’s amazing what you can learn from the input…

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What is Lean Product & Process Development (LPPD)?

This animation offers an overview of this proven approach to new product, process, and service development.

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Lean Lessons from Tesla

This piece throws no shade at Tesla, a company that serves as a highly-charged conduit for many a heated debate…

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Toyota chief engineers have no power? Really?

Dear Gemba Coach: We often hear that Toyota chief engineers have no power. Really? So how does that work? Why…

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The Road to Production Hell is Paved with Lack of LPPD

The real work of companies like Tesla who face stupendous challenges in launching a product should have happened long before…

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EP. 6 Fighting Poverty with Lean Product/Process Development at MIT D-Lab

D-Lab at MIT is using LPPD thinking to help solve problems in the developing world, and are truly making the…

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9 Tips for Better Design Reviews

Design reviews can be the heartbeat of a healthy operating system. Here are some tips for creating better design reviews.

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Lean Principles Apply to Fuzzy R&D Too

Lean principles work not only for incremental innovation and repetitive R&D work but for the “fuzzy” or disruptive part of…

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Ep. 2: Shook & Womack discuss the creation of the books Learning to See and Managing to Learn

20 years ago the book Learning to See was published, bringing with it the concept of Value Stream Mapping. Now…

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But when should we use design thinking or lean thinking?

Dear Gemba Coach: I read your latest and very interesting Gemba Coach column comparing design thinking and lean thinking. But…

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Unique Industries Continue to Share and Learn from their Common Challenges: Fall 2017 LPPD Learning Group Activity

The Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) organized the second Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) Learning Group event of 2017, which…

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7 Elements of Quality on the Shop Floor

"How do you lean out a quality approach that can work on the shop floor (maybe even compatible in a…

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How Do You Know What Your Product or Service Needs to Be?

What does it take to know what your product or service needs to be? The obvious answer, it would seem,…

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How Obeya Improved Our Product Development Efforts

As a followup to John Drogosz's piece on the stages of obeya from last week, Andy Houk, a client of…

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Developing Your Obeya, Stage-by-Stage

In his years as a LPPD coach, John Drogosz has seen that "most teams do go through several stages of…

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Riding the Goodyear Wheel to Innovation Excellence

Norbert Majerus of Goodyear shares the Womack and Jones-inspired model that helped his company overhaul its product development operations.

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Ask Art: Does lean compromise innovation?

To some, lean and innovation seem counterproductive. But Art Byrne is not one of them. Find out why he says…

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The Concept Paper for a New Product: The Kickstart of a LPPD Project

Lean product and process development is not an easy undertaking, neither to understand nor execute. Luckily, there is a tool…

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Enabling Fast and Innovative Product Development at Bose

Bringing products to market as quickly as possible is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. With this…

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What are the key traits I should look for in a potential Chief Engineer? A Q&A with Katrina Appell

The Chief Engineer is a key cornerstone of lean product and process development. Katrina Appell has been asked many times…

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What’s a good “small step” to start off my LPPD transformation? A Q&A with Katrina Appell

A lean product and process development transformation may seem daunting, but all you really need to get started is a…

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How Does Shop-Floor Lean Compare to Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD)? A Q&A with Matt Zayko

Matt Zayko was recently asked, "Is my knowledge of shop-floor lean enough for me to get by in product development?"…

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Innovative Companies Continue to Learn from Each Other: Fall 2016 LPPD Learning Group Event

Find out what learnings took place at the Fall 2016 LPPD Partners' Meeting in Davis, California.

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You Can’t Manage a Secret

How did the obeya management system come to be at Toyota? How has it been refined since its beginning as…

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When Lean Gets Personal

Lean is not simply about making things better; Jim Morgan shares how his experience with lean healthcare taught him how…

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How Do You REALLY Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes? A Q&A with Eric Ethington

The customer is king in lean. That's why it's critical to know their values, needs, interests, etc. in order to…

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Green from the Start

LEI faculty member Jim Morgan shares his insights with Kelly Singer, managing editor of the Lean Green Institute, on how…

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Ask Art: How is lean the opposite of everything people have been trained to do?

Art Byrne explains why, and how, lean practice is the opposite of what most people have learned about work in…

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How We A3 at Goodyear

Just as lean is situational, A3s are situational too - companies like Goodyear have a variety of types of A3s…

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Making Things Better – 5S-ing the Community

Do you use any lean tools to make your community a better place? Tony Heath has, ever since he was…

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How can kanban or lean possibly apply in an office?

Dear Gemba Coach: You often say that one can’t do lean without kanban, and that continuous improvement without kanban is…

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What are the elements of knowledge-based product development?

Dear Gemba Coach, What would be a knowledge-based approach to product development?

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What Do I Tell My Leaders When Experiments Fail?

When experiments fail, it's natural for a leadership team to get nervous. But in the context of lean, they shouldn't…

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The Crucible of Innovation

Innovation is key to a successful successful development project, we always read. But innovation is a fickle term that gets…

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Put the ‘i’ Before the Apple

Apple is a company with a reputation for keeping its customers' needs at the forefront of its product development decisions.…

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The Hidden Waste in Inspection

When looking for areas of muda, your inspection department probably isn't the first place that comes to mind. But you…

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Take Your Product Testing to the Extreme

Many of the principles of lean product and process development can seem counterproductive at first glance. For example, what if…

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More than a New Product – A New Way of Thinking

"Successful entrepreneurs, whether they are lone figures toiling in garages or supporting new work at major companies, are rightly celebrated…

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Leading Companies Gather for a Two-Day Lean Learning Exchange

The latest LPPD Learning Partners' learning event was held at GE Appliance Park in Louisville, Kentucky. Thirty-five people from five…

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How important is it to consider differences in roles between our current project manager and a chief engineer?

Dear Gemba Coach: Management wants us to start lean in product development, but refuses to consider the difference in roles…

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How do I keep visual management from becoming “wallpaper?” A Q&A with John Drogosz

"Many managers try to convince everyone (including themselves) that they are visually managing their projects or departments," writes John Drogosz,…

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Generating Multiple Alternatives is Not Necessarily Waste

I was once asked: 'How is set-based design lean? Isnít designing multiple alternatives creating waste and the opposite of lean?'î…

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The Importance of Embracing Development Conflict

Conflict is something almost all professionals have been told to avoid at all costs. Jim Morgan begs to differ. "Whenever…

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Seeing and Understanding the Work in Product and Process Development

"The role of most lean tools is to enable problems to be identified or to enable problems to be solved,"…

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Value Stream Mapping in a Product Development Context: A Q&A with John Drogosz

Lean Product and Process Development Senior Coach John Drogosz answers countless questions about LPPD every day. Now, in his first…

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Creating New Value and a Lesson in Fundamentals

After a recent trip to Toyota's headquarters in Japan, Jim Morgan made an epiphany about the Toyota Production System and…

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Interoperability: The Human Dimension of Design Excellence

Did you know only 51 percent of new product development efforts are meeting schedules, and a mere 56 percent meet…

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Put Your People at The Center of Your Development System

"It is your people that provide the skills, energy and creativity," writes Jim Morgan. "They are the single most important…

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Goodyear’s Great Year: An LPPD Success Story

Lean product and process development (LPPD) successes can be found at companies of every size and industry - such as…

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Turn on the Spigot: Create Flow in R&D

"Flow in R&D is as critical as in manufacturing," writes Terry Barnhart. "It is a little more difficult to see,…

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Is your obeya room used for real learning or as a glorified action plan?

Dear Gemba Coach: How can I use an obeya for learning rather than for project management?

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Three Core Capabilities in Any Lean Product and Process Development System

"Good development leaders work in earnest to create a 'safe culture' for people to share issues. Working to [drive out…

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Lean Product Development at Cathedral Hill Hospital

Read Baris Lostuvali's case study on bringing LPPD to the Cathedral Hill Hospital in San Francisco.

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Start Up By Diving Deep

"The important thing is answering some fairly core questions about your business before spending time and money developing solutions," write…

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The Joy of Lean Innovation: A Case Study of Menlo Innovations

Richard Sheridan and James Goebel of Menlo Innovations set out to create a joyful enterprise, one that they, their team,…

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Value Stream Mapping and Obeya: Key Enablers for Better Product Development

For an organization to be continually relevant and profitable, it needs to develop products and processes that consistently create value.…

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Design Thinking for Lean Practitioners

"You don’t have to look very far to see that lean problem-solving has a reputation of perfecting something that already…

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Serious Games

Boaz Tamir (President of Lean Institute Israel) and lean coach Smadar Cohen Isvoranu share their reflections on a recent lean…

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Lean Startup: The Most Revolutionary Idea Since SMED?

"From my view, Lean Startup is quite simply the most revolutionary idea to advance the way business is practiced since…

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Lean Product and Process Development – Stories from the Field

Jim Morgan shares stories of his field work and research for LPPD at LEI.

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Let the Work Define the Process

We’re all short on time, but think for a moment with your team about the real work to be done…

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Crossing Silos: Connecting Disconnected Communities at LeanUX NYC

LEI’s John Shook will give a talk, “Lean is About Building an Organization That Learns to Learn" at this year's…

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From Victim to Partner: The Evolution of a Manufacturing Development System

"Excellence in product development is not 'an engineering thing'; it is an enterprise thing," writes Jim Morgan. And it's helpful…

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Building as Product

"A building project, although it has many different moving parts and players, is a product. It’s a uniquely different product…

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Why Creating Products Customers Actually Want Requires a Great Process

80% of the cost (and hence, waste) is committed for a new product or service by the time product designs…

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Innovation at Smartphone Speed

Ever wonder what it takes to make those smartphone chips? Learn how IBM continuously improves smartphone technology using lean thinking…

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Can creative people, like product developers, follow such a structured method such as lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: For product development you need creative (maybe even chaotic) people. Are those people suited to follow such…

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Jim Morgan on What It Takes to Transform An Organization’s Product Development System

Jim Morgan, Senior Advisor for Product and Process Development at LEI, shares his view of what's required for organizations to…

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Lean & Scrum: Complementary Methods with a Shared Lineage

Lean coach Steve Bell shares his thoughts on Jeff Sutherland's presentation at the Lean IT Summit earlier this month in…

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Front-loading Product Development

Anyone in product development is familiar with the agony of late-stage changes, sometimes called loopbacks. The common advice to head…

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Framing Art and Science: What Lean Knowledge Are We Going to Create Together?

"What is the purpose of lean product development? Where are its limits? Who plays, and what is 'out of bounds?'…

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Lean Product Development is About Thinking Horizontally in a Vertical World

Check out the blog from Day 2 of the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange (North America) conference in Durham,…

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Deliberate Innovation Through Lean Product & Process Development

Check out LEI's live blog from the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange (North America) Conference happening now in Durham,…

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The Designer’s Dilemma

Durward Sobek unpacks the "designer’s dilemma"—the situation wherein you have the MOST freedom to make decisions when you know the…

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Ron Pereira and Jim Morgan Discuss the Power of Lean Product and Process Development

Check out excerpts from Gemba Academy's podcast with Jim Morgan on core lean product and process development concepts, what makes…

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Why Lean Startup Experiments are Hard to Design

Grace Ng, co-founder of Javelin (a software and services company dedicated to implementing Lean Startup), reflects on what she's learned…

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Real Concurrent Engineering: Developing Engineers and Products Simultaneously

Jim Morgan and Durward Sobek compare and contrast Lean with traditional product and process development.

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Using Lean To Fundamentally Rethink How We Develop Products and Services

Jim Morgan (former Global Engineering Director at Ford Motor Company) and Durward Sobek (Professor of Industrial Engineering at Montana State…

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Starting Up, Growing Up, and Starting Over

In an essay first published in Gemba Walks (2nd Ed) and adapted for the Post, LEI founder and thought leader…

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Jim Morgan on Creating the Future

Jim Morgan speaks about creating the future at the 2014 Lean Summit in Brazil.

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John Drogosz on Product Development

John Drogosz gives a talk on lean product development from the University of Michigan.

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Is there such a thing as lean manufacturing engineering?

Dear Gemba Coach: I keep reading about lean engineering and lean design. Is there lean manufacturing engineering?

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Throw Out Your Assumptions About Your Customer

LEI intern Francesco Possio reflects on his Lean Startup Machine workshop experience at the Cambridge Innovation Center.

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Product Focus = Customer Focus

"Customer-defined value creation is the first principle of lean thinking... But how do you know your hard work will deliver…

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Where Lean Meets Innovation

"Many people see Lean purely as an improvement method, not a total enterprise solution or a new way of doing…

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Product and Process Lean

Dear Gemba Coach: Lean product development guys tout the gospel of product focus as core to lean success. No argument…

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What comes after Lean?

Lean practice is an ongoing process, it never ends. But what are we learning about the field? What comes after…

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The Faster We Go, the Behind-er We Get

Speed to market is not just about doing things faster. It’s about taking the time to do things more intentionally.…

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Designing Hospitals in Collaboration with Patients and Families

LEI coach Danielle Blais shares her reflections on a recent visit to Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, a hospital built…

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Reason #27 Why Your CEO Is Just Not That Into Lean

You know the value of Lean, but maybe your boss or a key member of the senior leadership team doesn't.…

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Managing the Wisdom of the Many

"Lean organizations that depend on the qualities of rare individuals face multi-dimensional risks," writes Boaz Tamir, President of Israel Lean…

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Upcycling Products Customers Actually Want

Nathan Rothstein, president of Project Repat, shares the story of how his startup evolved from an interesting idea to a…

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Part 2: What is the best lean way to understand VALUE (in terms of what our customers want)?

Dear Gemba Coach,   What is the best lean way to understand VALUE (in terms of what our customers want)

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How do we get started with lean tools in new product development?

Dear Gemba Coach: My company already has a deep rooted lean culture.  However, it would seem that the next evolution…

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Why isn’t there more emphasis on lean engineering?

Dear Gemba Coach: Why isn’t there more emphasis on lean engineering?

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The Insourcing Boom

 From industrial monument to memorial and then back again, the improving fortunes of GE’s huge Appliance Park plant illustrate the…

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What would a lean transformation mean for the IT Department? What benefits would it create for the company?

Dear Gemba Coach: We’ve asked our IT department to be involved in kaizen events several times, but it is always…

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Should I Use Lean for Headcount Reduction?

Dear Gemba Coach: My company wants to reduce its fixed costs. And as part of this my management has asked…

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Lean Product Development at Ford

Jim Morgan, director, Global Body Exterior and Stamping Business Unit Engineering at Ford, discusses lean product development methods in this…

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The Remarkable Chief Engineer

Last week I shared this principle quoted from an unexpected source, the U.S. Marine Leadership Manual: "An individual's responsibility for…

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Cadence

What do the numbers 1/16, 4/04, 5/03, 5/30, 8/22, 10/23 and 12/20 have in common? They are the dates (day/month)…

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Kaizen or Rework?

I recently visited a contract electronics manufacturer with a striking capacity for kaizen – the steady improvement of every step…

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Lean Publishing and Lean Solutions

Normally I walk through other people’s industries. But today let me take a brief walk through my own: publishing. You…

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Lean Consumption

"Lean Consumption" is the lead article in the March 2005 issue of the Harvard Business Review. It previews the breakthrough…

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2024 Lean Summit Recap

LEI's Lean Summit showcased how leaders leverage lean for innovation from AI-powered healthcare to US manufacturing's revival.

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Understanding the 4S Help Chain, Part 1: Lessons from NUMMI on How to Manage Work Disruptions

What are the four critical characteristics of an effective help chain? Matt Zayko, a technical coach for LEI's Lean Product…

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Meeting the 19-Billion-Dose Challenge

What does it take to meet the historic challenge of rapidly increasing the annual global vaccine capacity from 5 billion…

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Reach for Your Mind Before Your Wallet

Josh Howell shares how the lean principle of reaching for your mind before your wallet can mitigate risk through careful…

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Taking Time for a Year-End Reflection with the Most Popular Lean Articles, Podcasts, and Videos of 2020

This year's content featured plenty of guests, returns from lean legends, and handfuls of ways that lean has been applicable…

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Remembering Norman Bodek, the “Miraculous Life” of an Author, Teacher, and Publisher of Groundbreaking Business Books

Called “Mr. Productivity” and the “Godfather of Lean,” Norman Bodek began 41 years ago translating and publishing groundbreaking books by…

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Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 3: Excess Inventory

Take a closer look at the various types of inventory, with an eye toward identifying waste, with your guide, Art…

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Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 2: Overproduction

Take a closer look at and gain an in-depth understanding of the waste overproduction with Art of Lean, Incorporated President…

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Tap the Power of Flow to Develop Lean Thinkers

Flow is personal--a moment of enrichment, and a mental state. It´s stretching oneself just that little bit extra, not because…

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How to Ensure the Safety of Hospital Staff During the Pandemic

In the seventh and final post of a seven-part series, the Global Lean Healthcare Initiative focuses on keeping staff safe.

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Reimagining restaurants after Covid-19

The future has never looked more uncertain for restaurants and cafes. The authors share a set of practical lean tips…

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How Hospitals are Leveraging Visual Management in the Battle Against Covid-19

A Lean Global Network team of lean practitioners and coaches shares a set of lean healthcare tips hospitals can use…

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Lean and “emotional heijunka” in a Time of Pandemic

In this timely reflection, Jim Womack calls for "emotional heijunka": taking a deep breath, identifying the most important problems that…

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Ask Art: How Does Lean Bring the Customer Directly Onto the Shop Floor?

The lean approach reduces setup times, creates flow, improves quality, lowers cost and drastically shortens lead times, says Art Byrne,…

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Should I be worried that management is buying software for virtual gemba walks?

Dear Gemba Coach: A consultant is selling us “virtual gemba walks” software to schedule gemba visits with a “leader standardized…

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Rivian: The Electric-Vehicle Company Taking the Auto Industry by Storm

In this podcast, Rivian Founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe and former COO Jim Morgan discuss the challenges of forming a…

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What Ever Happened to Mura?

If we really want to dig down into the root causes of waste, we need to bring the two lost…

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People First Leadership: A Conversation by Jim Morgan with Alan Mulally

Alan Mulally is a brilliant engineer who led historic transformations as CEO of Boeing Commercial and then Ford Motor Company.…

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And Now For Something Completely…Lean

Lean practice is no joke, argues Brent Wahba. And yet he draws lessons from great comedy to help address this…

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Alan Mulally, former Ford and Boeing CEO sits down with Jim Morgan to discuss Leadership, Designing the Future Special Ep. 2

“It seemed nothing short of a miracle could save Ford Motor Company in the mid 2000s.  Ford didn’t receive a…

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Take Baby Steps Towards Improvement

As you think about your 2019 resolutions, ask yourself if you’re making the change too big and, therefore, too scary,…

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A Great Company Culture Takes Purpose

If you’re determined to move your culture from good to great, listen to CEO Tyler Schilling as he describes two…

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Ask Art: Why Should I Be Able to Make Every Product Every Day?

Working on the goal of "every product every day" helps all companies realize the benefits of lean as a strategy,…

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Lessons from Japan: Day Two

A group of lean learners are touring world-class enterprises in Japan; here are postcards capturing their daily lessons gleaned from…

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Stability Before Innovation

Given its foundational strengths of stable and robust product development, production, supplier development, and general management system, Toyota is well…

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Expanding Our Perspective on Lean Management, Part 2: Lean has its Roots in Spirituality

To explore the idea that there may be other angles for understanding lean management than business or analytical perspectives, a…

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Ask Art: Is there a balance between lean and full automation?

As a followup to his piece last month dealing with another aspect of lean and automation, Art Byrne now explores…

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Lean Roundup: Jidoka

"Jidoka captures the principle of building quality into the production process—of designing work so that the people making the product…

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Lean Thinking at 20, Part 2: A Q&A with Jim Womack and Dan Jones

Twenty years ago Jim Womack and Dan Jones helped launch the lean movement as we know it today with their…

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Innovation in the Work

LEI's chairman explores the meaning of “innovation” and lean thinking’s relationship to it, bringing a fresh perspective to challenge traditional…

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Orchestrating Your Product Development Process with Milestones

"Effective milestones are an important part of a company’s development process, especially in today’s era of team-based sprints and stand-ups,"…

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Does a lean transformation boost a company’s stock price?

Dear Gemba Coach: You’ve worked with a lot of different companies in the public and private sectors. How have the…

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Just Trying “Stuff” Is Not A Real Experiment

"Today it seems like you can’t throw a stick of butter without hitting someone who is “running a lean experiment”…

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What is leader standard work?

Dear Gemba Coach: Is there such thing as a leader standard work, and, if so, what is it?

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A3 Thinking Roundup

Following last week's immensely popular Posts on the origins of A3 thinking, LEI Senior Editor Tom Ehrenfeld compiles a collection…

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Why Value-Stream Mapping is So Difficult in the Public Sector

Identifying value in an organization isn't the easiest task to accomplish. If you happen to work in the public sector,…

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How do I introduce kaizen to IT?

Dear Gemba Coach: Based on your experience, what is the best strategy to introduce kaizen as social, ongoing events without…

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Ford’s Focus: Lean Lessons from the Recession’s Greatest Success Story

After listening to Jim Morgan talk about Ford Motor Company's lean turnaround strategy during the Great Recession, Cam Ford (no…

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Gemba Walking on Mars

Lean is all around us in our daily lives - including at the movies, as Lean Institute Brasil president Jose…

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Redefining Work

We need to think about redefining work. Until we – anyone who wishes to bring about organizational change – redefine…

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The Chief Cause of Problems is Solutions

"In complex organizations, we [oversimplify] problems, try to fix them as painlessly as possible, cross our fingers, and move on…

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Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads From Across the Web (Vol. 7)

Five recent articles from across the web to help you reflect on your organization's approach to lean transformation or your…

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TPS 2.0?

Jim Morgan and Jeffrey Liker chime in on Toyota's announcement of their TNGA program (Toyota New Global Architecture). "The impetus…

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Training as a Crutch

Your organization has a problem. Something has gone wrong. A process that was previously working fine is no longer working.…

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Just-in-Time Roundup: Great Lean Reads from Across the Web (Vol. 4)

LEI editors share an interesting assortment of lean-themed and lean-related articles from across the web, this time from Harvard Business…

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TWI Job Instruction As a Way of Sharing High Value Knowledge

"Before we try to create value, we first need to study the jobs — looking for those parts of the…

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Lean Alone is Never Enough

Lean can help any organization become more efficient and effective, but there is much more to being successful than just…

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Levelled Production: Why Do It?

Ian Glenday explains how levelled production and "economies of repetition" make way not just for stability, but improved business performance.

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I want to apply lean to engineering. Any thoughts?

Dear Gemba Coach: I am the regional manufacturing VP of a large industrial company. After the latest reorganization, engineering now…

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Long-term Organizational Health or Sugar High?

"We know 'flavor-of-the-month' initiatives can't be the focus of a lean leader," writes Bob Miller of the Shingo Institute. So…

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Continuously Improving Lean IT at Toyota

Pierre Masai, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Toyota Motor Europe, weighs in on the changing face of Lean…

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Your Product Isn’t Everything, It’s the Only Thing

Jim Morgan, former product/process development executive at Ford (and co-author of The Toyota Product Development System), reflects on what should…

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Lean Consortia “Lessons Learned”

Here is a quick overview of the lessons learned by experienced leaders in our case study on lean consortia.

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Why It’s Time to Embrace Design Thinking

What do lean thinking and design thinking have to do with each other? What do practitioners in each field have…

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THE IMPROVEMENT KATA AT AEROJET

Aerojet explains how they're using VSM + the Improvement Kata to connect daily process improvement with the organization's strategy.

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Kaizen and Innovation

Dear Gemba Coach: Can kaizen stifle breakthrough innovation?

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Engineering Checklists

Dear Gemba Coach: How do I apply standardized work to product development?

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What Are the Different Types of A3s?

What are the different types of A3s and what are they used for?

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Lean Product Development and Engineering at Ford

James Morgan, director, Global Body Exterior and Stamping Business Unit Engineering, Ford Motor Company, explains how he got skeptical engineers…

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Toyota Trouble: A Dialogue with Jeff Liker (AKA the Coffee Shop Talks)

With the appearance of Toyota's various quality and recall problems, Jeff Liker and I have been meeting in coffee shops…

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How can firing people be part of developing people?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can you explain how you reconcile the principles of "developing people" and "firing people," especially in light…

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Nice Car, Long Journey

2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Model T Ford. This truly is “the machine that changed…

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Gross Domestic Product Verses Gross Domestic Waste

I’ve always been fascinated by how humans count, especially the way we always seem to count the wrong things. Recently…

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A Postcard — with Leadership Insights — from Nashville

A look back at LEI’s Lean Transformation Summit in 2018 shares a few tips from CEO keynoters on how to…

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Create Constancy of Purpose

Looking back on the admirable work of two lean leaders who established constancy of purpose, Jim Womack asks: what would…

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How One Company is Using Lean Fundamentals When Facing Disruption

Companies that have been built using lean principles are turning to these core ideals when confronting the unique challenges caused…

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What should I expect as a lean manager?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m currently a team leader, and I’ve been offered a job as a lean manager – what…

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How Can Lean Help Respond to Crises?

Although lean might seem fragile to crises, because of low inventories, it’s quite the opposite, says Michael Balle: Lean thinking…

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Ask Art: What Are the Most Important Management Changes Needed to Implement A Lean Turnaround?

Lean thinking requires a totally different mindset than traditional management, argues lean veteran Art Byrne. This is probably the most…

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Why We Believe that Pull Flows Are Too Often Overlooked

In this incisive series of articles on the essential value of pulled flow, the lean sensei women argue, in the…

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Can lean management help with the start of production?

Dear Gemba Coach: Can lean management help with the start of production?

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Isn’t flow the ultimate aim of lean?

Dear Gemba Coach: Isn’t flow the ultimate aim of lean?

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Want Better Relations and Results from Suppliers? Hear Two Execs Explain the Benefits of “Matched Pair” Leadership

New products and service development does not stop at the exterior walls of your company. Outside suppliers play critical roles,…

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Lean Thinkers Are Systems Thinkers

Lean thinkers are systems thinkers, argues Rich Sheridan: "Intentional cultures thrive when the simple systems put in place reinforce every…

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4 Actions that Solved My Lean Management Identity Crisis

Mike Orzen had lean management down cold – or so he thought. After all, he makes a living teaching it…

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Cultivating Intuition at the Gemba

Our trainers conditioned us to water the seed of experience and use it not just to fire-fight but rather be…

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Seafood Restaurant Fishes for Problems Customers Really Care About

The executive chef at Legal Sea Foods explains how the restaurants are cutting lead times from fishing boat to your…

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Jishuken, Part Two: The Power of Self-Learning

Consider Jishuken to be an intensive effort to drive individuals and the organization to a higher level, says Mark Reich,…

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Can Lean Know-How Come Home?

When you decide to stop making things, you lose the ability to make things, argues Eric Buehrens: not just the…

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As Toast Kaizen Turns 20, Bruce Hamilton Shares How This Famous Video Came About

Watch this "director's cut" video by Bruce Hamilton sharing the backstory behind what has become a classic lean resource: Toast…

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Lean Roundup: Respect for People

Respect for People is one of the most abstract and yet most concrete tenets of lean, a guiding principle that…

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The Quiet Factory

Could noise be considered another waste to be reduced in the system? Matt Savas ponders the implications of a Toyota…

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Why do you keep referring to Toyota; does it still matter?

Dear Gemba Coach:  I’m very interested in lean, but fail to see why you guys keep referring to Toyota. What does…

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Are Design Thinking and Lean Thinking the Same?

Dear Gemba Coach: As a practitioner and advocate of design thinking, I’ve been curious about lean, but it seems to…

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Follow-up Webinar Q&A with Jim Lancaster, Lantech CEO and author of the Work of Management

"The Real Work of Management" webinar drew an engaged audience that wanted to know more about the daily management system…

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Why do lean management experts differ on how to apply lean principles?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve worked with several managers who worked at Toyota or Toyota suppliers who were considered experts in…

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You can do a lot by doing a few things

"Developing a good strategy and actually executing it is really hard," writes Leslie Barker. "What I didn’t fully realize was…

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Leaders’ Actions Speak, but Their Talk Matters Too

How leaders talk to employees can either help or hurt efforts to create and sustain a culture of engagement and…

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How can I tell good lean consultants from bad?

If lean’s not a scam – but there are scammers -- how can I distinguish good lean consultants from bad?

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Developing Better Habits Using A3 Thinking

Think A3 thinking is only for solving organizational problems? Think again! LEI faculty Katie Anderson shares her secrets for using…

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Planning Meetings Around A3s

"How many times have you sat in a meeting to discuss solving a pressing, urgent or serious problem – and…

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Focus Your Operating System To Bring Your Strategy to Life

A strategy can just turn into wallpaper if you don't have the right systems in place to support it. Jim…

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Does respect for humanity mean the same as respect for people?

Dear Gemba Coach: Does respect for humanity mean the same as respect for people? I hear that the literal translation…

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Do we need more research to understand what works and what doesn’t when implementing lean healthcare?

Dear Gemba Coach: There are controversies over whether lean/TPS works in healthcare or not. Authorities in lean practice suggest conducting…

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Is there “mudagement” in your organization?

"Mudagement." What a strange word. But to Tony Lamberton, the concept behind that word has made all the difference in…

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You Are Not Different: Make universal lean principles work locally

Lean principles are universal, argues Orry Fiume, but the application of them is always local. Don't use this challenge as…

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I’m struggling to understand exactly what people mean by a “lean system”?

Dear Gemba Coach: I’m struggling to understand exactly what people mean by a “lean system”?

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Lean Fitness: The Individual vs. the Organization

"For both the individual and the organization, the problem is the same," writes Dan Markovitz. "There may be a stated…

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You Can’t Learn Lean by Talking About It

Larry Navarre, instructor at Kettering University with 20 years experience in industry, shares what he's learned about teaching lean thinking.

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Continuous Improvement is Good, But Is It Lean?

Take a look at your organization. Is Lean clearly directed and connected to strategy? Are senior leaders directly involved in…

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Rich Sheridan on How to Succeed by Building a Strong Learning Culture

Rich Sheridan, CEO of the software company Menlo Innovations, talks with LEI's Chet Marchwinski about Menlo's unique learning culture, taking…

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Make Broccoli (Or Lean) Taste Better Through Experiments

"Whether it’s eating healthy, saving for retirement, or pursuing Lean, we are all biased towards maximizing the here and now…

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The Angry Team Member and the Changing Organization

Toyota veteran and lean coach Lesa Nichols reflects on one of the most challenging and ultimately rewarding conversations she had…

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Why Skill-Based Learning is Harder Than You Think

Lean practitioner Joel Gross explains why skill-based learning (like learning how to problem solve using PDSA) requires active, hands-on practice…

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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…

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We found your visit rather challenging … does “real” lean have to be such a struggle?

Dear Gemba Coach: The question I’m facing internally is whether “real” lean needs to be that challenging or is there…

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A Body Needs Skeleton and Muscle to Work

How do you create alignment across the organization when you have separate departments, value streams, and executives with conflicting priorities?…

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Leadership Q&A: Thomas Hartman, Senior Director, Autoliv Americas

From the LEI senior executive series on Lean Leadership: Autoliv’s Thomas Hartman describes the development of a lean problem solving…

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“How ThedaCare Created Its Own Management System”, Follow-Up Q&A

Kim Barnas, author of Beyond Heroes: A Lean Management System for Healthcare, answers questions that we couldn't get to during…

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Challenge: Understand and Adapt for Sales Pace Growth

It's our first Lean Challenge post! Come up with a plan to help a machining business deal with the technical…

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Why One Startup Will Never “Change the World”

Nathan Rothstein, co-founder of Project Repat, calls for founders to stop pitching their companies as "world-changing" charitable organizations. Businesses should…

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Are You Making Enough Mistakes?

How comfortable are you making mistakes? Do you make it safe for your team members to make mistakes? Boaz Tamir,…

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How a Problem-Solving Culture Takes Root

Changing one's own leadership behaviors is no easy task, but it can be done. Leaders can shift away from giving…

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Managing By Not Wandering Around

“We’re still very early in our journey,” says Dan McDonnell, VP of Operational Excellence at Ingersoll Rand. “But we’re following…

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Lean Transformation Starts with a Learning Culture

After attending a Lean Applied to Sales seminar, Tina Roach and Pete Mangan of ProMed Molded Products knew they needed…

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Transforming Transformation

We are all trying to transform. That's what lean thinking and practice are all about: challenging us to reflect deeply…

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Alice Lee on the Challenges and Rewards of Applying Lean to Healthcare

Alice Lee, VP of Business Transformation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, discusses BIDMC's unique application of lean…

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Should I use an A3 report to kick off a problem-solving effort?

Dear Gemba Coach: Should I use an A3 report to kick off a problem? I encourage my managers to tell…

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Starting Points for Different Value Streams

No lean transformation story is the same. Read Dan Jones's take on gaining traction for lean learning within your organization…

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What Is Your Purpose? Who Is Your Audience?

In this article, the third in a series of starting your A3, sensei David Verble suggest that you reflect more…

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Visual Management – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Visualization is a good thing. We all know that. And many of us in the Lean Community practice it, to…

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It seems that lean these days is all about learning and coaching. What about the good ol’-fashioned just-in-time stuff of the earlier days?

Dear Gemba Coach: It seems that lean these days is all about learning and coaching. What about the good ol'-fashioned…

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Fulfillment-Stream Measurement Systems: Driving Action in Real Time

Derek Browning, a lean supply chain executive at LeanCor, takes time out from a lean logistics conference to answer questions…

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Don’t Gloat Too Quickly – If This Could Happen to Toyota, It Could Happen to You …

Okay, so how do you respond to a "crisis"?  My recent encouragement to Toyota President Akio Toyoda that "It isn't the…

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The Business Case for Kaizen

Dear Gemba Coach: I can see the benefits kaizen has brought our company, but find it hard to formulate the…

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So Long 2009 – Hello 2010!

Whew, what a year! Most everyone I know is eager to escort the hard times of 2009 out the door…

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How Much Control Do I Need (and Need to Give Up) to Lead?

Dear Gemba Coach: I am interested in setting up a team for implementing lean. So far I have been trying…

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Creating Value or Shifting Wealth?

How do we judge the progress of the Lean Movement? One critical indicator is our success in extending lean thinking…

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The Big Opportunity

I started studying manufacturing performance††26 years ago this fall. We set out at MIT to perform the most exhaustive and…

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Lean Consumption, Lean Provision, and Lean Solutions

Here’s some good news for the Lean Community. I was recently in Spain where I toured a facility belonging to…

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The Dramatic Spread of Lean Thinking

Without question, lean thinking was born in the factory. Then lean thinking spread to logistics, to tie supplier production tightly…

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Getting Back to Basics

I recently had a request from a Detroit newspaper to write a brief piece for the Motor Show on how…

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