February's topic was Using an A3. In Saskatoon we had Petrina McGrath from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and in Regina Trish Livingstone and Tanya Doucette from the Provincial Government share their experience with A3's. Each of the sessions included discussion on both theory and practical application. What is an A3?
The core of Toyota’s renowned management system
A structured method for applying PDCA (plan do check act) approach to problem solving
A piece of paper 11x17”
A3 thinking and management can be used at many levels & in many forms
Strategic A3 – Identify gap in the system
Status update A3 – provides updates on the work to close that gap
Tactical A3 – specific for each unit to achieve a portion of the gap based on where they have the biggest impact & the largest opportunity
Corrective Action A3’s – when things are not progressing as plan – tells the story of what the obstacles you have encountered and what your next experiment or key action is to address this
Personal A3 - connects personal development and improvement to system improvement
The Intent of an A3 is:
To help leaders develop their people;
To build organization problem solving capacity; and
To be used as a Story Board – to communicate the issue and learning
Step 1 Identify a Team
Determine who needs to be involved
Think about stakeholders, customers and impact
Engagement is KEY
Step 2 Define the Problem
Ensure there actually is a PROBLEM!
Look for the gap between current and desired state
Consider Quality, Cost, Delivery, Safety, Morale
Validate the problem instead of justifying the solution
Step 3 Perform Root Cause Analysis
Spend the time on determining the root cause
Tools for root cause analysis: Pareto, Value Stream Mapping, Five Whys, Fishbone
Principles of root cause analysis: keep an open mind, go and see, keep going, and focus your efforts
Step 4 Set a Target and a Goal
Do not set the solution as the target
Use SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevantt, Time Bound)
As you develop your target condition, you should not yet know exactly how you will achieve it
Step 5 Identify Countermeasures
What will need to be changed to move from current state to the target condition? Will the actions achieve the target?
Do not try to solve all the root causes. Prioritize based on impact, frequency, sequencing, low hanging fruit - Don't try to 'boil the ocean'!
Driver Diagrams are useful tools to help determine countermeasures and the impact on root causes
Step 6 Track Results
Measurement is information that reflects current conditions, supports decision making and drives action
Are we heading in the right direction?
Process: What are we doing that is leading to better outcomes? (Leading measure)
Outcome: What is ultimately better because of our efforts? (Lagging measure)
Balancing: What might be an unintended consequence of the changes?
Next month we will be building on our learnings from this month's learning session with "Visual Workplace/Management" This session will be held both in Regina and Saskatoon.