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Toyota kata for continuous improvement

  2. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Sudipta Lahiri (Sudi), • Senior Vice President, Digité • Agile/Lean practitioner (75%) • Lean Transformation of our own team • Developed SwiftKanban (, SwiftALM ( • Licensed user base of over 300,000 • Agile Coach (25%) • Train and coach teams/organizations in Lean/Agile • Run the LimitedWIP Societies in India My Background 06-06-15
  3. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Why this session? 05-12-2015 3  Are we missing the point?  Should we have a different perspective?  Are we really happy with how Agile teams have performed so far?  Have the retrospectives delivered the results we were told they will deliver?
  4. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Toyota: unparalleled success 05-12-2015 4  Toyota is one of the most open organizations  There are many known practices that are widely adopted and followed  Andon, Kanban, Jidoka, Heijunka...  There is so much talk about ‘Continuous Improvement’  A3 sheets, others...  Yet, the success of Toyota rarely been replicated... why?  Even within Japanese companies : :  It all comes down to Toyota’s key values!
  5. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Toyota’s value  It values organization’s routines for improvement and adaptation for competitive advantage and long term success  Not quantitative/financial targets “ Toyota has long considered its ability to permanently resolve problems and then improve stable processes as one of the company’s competitive advantages. - Kathi Hanley, Toyota” 05-12-2015 5
  6. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 We aren’t the best “copy cats”!  Teams need to be adapt and continuously improve  External and internal environments are changing continuously; you can’t predict how they will develop  We jump to “implementation”... we jump to methodologies... we jump to certifications!  We copy what we see... Practices and Principles Management thinking and routines (Visible) (Invisible) Picture from Mike Rother’s book “Toyota Kata”  ... forgetting that some of these practices and principles were a response to their issues, their problems 05-12-2015 6
  7. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 What do we mean from continuous improvement and adaptation?  Small incremental steps, adjusting along the way, continuously  Relying on periodic retrospectives assumes a system that is “temporarily” static  Standards that don’t keep continuously improving bring down system performance because system characteristics keep changing We are here We want to be here Picture from Mike Rother’s book “Toyota Kata” 05-12-2015 7
  8. Quality of a product does not necessarily mean high quality. It means continual improvement of the process, so that the consumer may depend on the uniformity of a product and purchase it at a low cost. - W. Edwards Deming, 1980 05-12- 8
  9. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Kata means “routine”  ... routines that help its people continuously improve and evolve... systematically, not as a special initiative  A way of keeping 2 things in alignment, synchronized with each other  One: The system  Two: The continuously changing environment  We don’t control the environments around us but we can control how to manage them  Kata is not a technique, not a principle  It’s much deeper.... it’s part of work, everyday 05-12-2015 9
  10. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Two fundamental “Kata” routines  Improvement Kata  A routine that helps you to improve, adapt and evolve  Coaching Kata  A routine that makes the experienced leaders and managers teach the Improvement Kata to everyone Coachin g Kata Improveme nt Kata Images from: up.asp 10
  11. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 It does not happen with...  Workshops or Classroom sessions  Action Item Lists  Value Stream Mapping helps but... Improvement Kata at this level 05-12-2015 11
  12. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 What happens in retrospectives?  Best case scenario:  We get a “scattered” set of improvements  These are not generally directed in any specific direction (vision)  Without a vision, once you address these improvements, you will get a static system  You can’t predict the outcome!  In the most common scenario:  Action items don’t get closed; over time, team loses faith and the quality of feedback drops  Often, too many items and too many “organizational” items  Freshers, attrition, requirements are not well defined, etc.  Rarely, problems within the team, within the team members are identified!  Rarely, a 5Why analysis to get to “real” Root Cause 05-12-2015 12
  13. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 You must have a “vision”...  Is “Lean” = “Waste Management”?  Yes but... we focus on wastes in silos (system thinking is missing)  Defining a vision gives a direction for the “system” to think in one direction  Mike Rother’s definition of “Continuous Improvement and Adaptation”  “Moving towards a desired state through an unclear territory by being sensitive and responding to actual changes on the ground”  Alvin Toffler’s says”  You have got to think about big things while you are doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction We are here Vision eg: 0 defects CSAT>X % ESAT>Y05-12-2015 13
  14. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 ... but Vision is just a Direction giver!  Nothing more!  Utilize these “next steps” to manage the team/people  However, as you move from point to the next, you will get “Obstacles”  Either avoid them and move off from your vision OR  Work through it by understanding it and addressing its root cause(s) We are here Vision eg: 0 defects CSAT>X% ESAT>Y% Define the next step: Specific and detailed Define the next step... Define the next step... Define the next step... 05-12-2015 14
  15. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 So, lets establish the “Next Step”...  Out intent must be to establish a work “pattern”  Without a pattern, you cannot identify where to improve...  Without a pattern, you are not certain how to react to OR how the system would react to when you change something We are here Vision eg: 0 defects CSAT>X% ESAT>Y%Patter n Patter n Patter n Patter n 05-12-2015 15
  16. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 To set a working pattern...  Without a pattern, every day is a different day!  Many of the TPS principles are to establish a pattern  Heijunka, Kanban, 1*1 flow  Initially, work will not fit to the pattern...  You will get almost always get obstacles...  Resolve them and continuously improve  When people say, its not working for us...  You got it! Nail that problem  All these methods are used to see the problems and obstacles 05-12-2015 16
  17. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Kanban as a method for “Continuous Improvement”  Visible intent: produce only what we need  Invisible intent: support process improvement to provide a target condition by defining a relationship between stages of the value stream  In push systems, you dump work to downstream; rest is his problem! 05-12-2015 17
  18. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 The purpose of Kanban is to eliminate Kanban! Eliminate the supermarket... - But don’t do it too fast! Use Kanban to define the “next stage” of improvement journey There is no point in seeing the same thing what you are doing today! There is no improvement... 05-12- 18
  19. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Target condition ≠ Target 05-12-2015 19  Target condition (pattern) depersonalizes and aligns the corrective actions  Target condition points towards a process improvement; target points towards numbers!  You can get the numbers by cheating the system but you can’t game improvement  If you push for targets without process improvement, the system will break down!  When you have high WIP, that reflects a scope for process improvement  Target condition should be something that is distant AND you don’t know how to get there  It shouldn’t be easy enough that we know how to get there + it shouldn’t difficult enough that the team gives up!  Start with a small simple definition and expand as you go forward...  As you face obstacles and resolve, you will be able to refine better
  20. ... how to try and achieve that? So, you have a Target Condition... 05-12- 20
  21. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Execution to target condition  Accept that the path is unclear  “No Problem” = Problem  Small, incremental and rapid step  Sometimes in minutes; no detailed plan  Don’t lose time in trying to get the perfect step; take a bandaid step to see farther  This is where PDCA comes in  With single-factor experiments, not necessarily the biggest problem  Not this... ... but this... 05-12-2015 21
  22. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Summary: 5 questions for Improvement Kata...  What is the target condition (the challenge)?  What is the actual condition now?  What obstacles are preventing you from reaching the target condition? Which one are you addressing now?  What is your next step (starting PDCA)?  When can we go and see what we have learnt from the next step? 05-12- 22
  23. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Retrospectives vs Kata  Focus: Stop/fix the problem  Typical Behaviour:  Hide the problem  Quickly move into corrective action  Apply several corrective actions at once  Focus: Learn about the work system  Understand the situation  Typical Behaviour:  Observe and study the situation  Apply 1 corrective action at a time to see cause and effect Retrospectives Kata 05-12- 23
  24. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Don’t mess it with “metrics” The manager relies on signals that he or she assumes are good results measures. In fact, employees know ways to make signals look good that the manager hasn’t thought of and that have nothing to do with results. Another lousy feature of such systems that they punish workers who have too much integrity to game the measures - Robert Austin 05-12-2015 24
  25. This is where “Coaching Kata” comes in! Thinking like this is not easy... 05-12- 25
  26. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Who does it?  Limited impact  Voluntary improvement activity  Train them to think of kaizen  Identify who is ready to go to the next level  90% impact  50% of their time!  Part of their job function  Cost reduction via improvement in productivity and quality Team Members... Leader/Managers demand/ 05-12- 26
  27. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Pareto Charts don’t get it done!  Its simply too late!  Even then, we don’t look into what is happening now  Root cause trail is cold  The “Other” bucket  Our response has to be immediate  Our response should NOT BE from the team members...  Why? Because if the problem is quickly fixed, you will not be able to address the root cause  Too strongly influenced by your pain.. 05-12- 27
  28. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Coaching the Straight Drive... 05-12-2015 28
  29. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Your observations... 05-12-2015 29  What’s the approach?  How is it different from what we do today?  Bottomline, this isn’t traning OR workshop! You learn the art by doing it again and again and again... Till your brain does it in an auto mode!  Think about how you drive...  KUMON...  Do metrics, incentives and motivators help?
  30. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 The basics of Coaching Kata 05-12-2015 30  Menton-Mentee-Mentor-Mentee... Relationship  At lowel levels, Mentor is mostly the line manager; as you grow, the mentor changes to someone not in the line  Mentee is responsible for “doing”; mentor is responsible for the “outcome”  If the learner hasn’t learnt, the teacher hasn’t taught...
  31. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 The basics of Coaching Kata 05-12-2015 31  As a mentor, let them experiment but keep them in the zone; don’t tell them what to do (too hard!)  There is value of learning through small errors; its more permanent in nature  It helps the mentor understand how the mentee thinks  Inputs for future training and improvement  Use a written document... A3... for a focussed discussion  Putting it down in one sheet is damn hard!  Needs extreme clarity to be concise  Don’t even suggest the template to begin with... lead to something like it
  32. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Let’s summarize 05-12-2015 32  Inspect and adapt... don’t copy  It not adequate to implement a methodology, model or method  Think about you can make Continuous Improvement a routine that your team can follow without a second thought Coachin g Kata Improveme nt Kata Images from: up.asp process/
  33. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Join us at: Lean Kanban India 2015 05-12-2015 33
  34. @sudiptal #AgileNoida2015 Thank you for your time today...  For any questions or clarifications, reach me at:  @sudiptal   I share my experiences at:   Join Limited WIP Society NCR, Bangalore, Pune and Chennai Chapters 05-12- 34

Notas do Editor

  1. This is the essence of many of TPS principles like “hiejunka” or “kanban” You consciously do something against what is most logical then to establish a pattern; once you have a pattern, you can target
  2. A board designed in 1st way will reveal less issues and differences in cadence. A board designed in the 2nd way is the most optimal – no WIP between dev and test, full cadence sync. It will throw open all the system challenges. In the 3rd option, you choose an intermediate step... Keep reducing the WIP to get the cadence between the two stages in sync.
  3. PDCA was defined by Deming... Toyota added the “Go and see” in the middle!