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"Thinking is the hardest work there is. That's why so few people do it." Henry Ford
By far the most important step of any problem solving method is
to pause to analyze, ponder, and reflect
on what has been discovered, what has been learned, what is still unknown...
to conceive possible countermeasures
that go beyond "obvious" initial thoughts
to daydream about alternate futures
that are more desirable, more compelling, more...
Hansei is the Japanese word for this form of self-reflection, and it should be the single most important activity to happen in every PDCA cycle.
Ponder, Think, Reflect
When to use
Every time that you reach the 'Study' or 'Check' phase of the PDSA or PDCA cycle,
it's time for each of your team members to (independently) think, ponder, and reflect:
to secure, ratchet, and expand our hard-won learnings
Deep Thinking is best done alone
Deep thinking is best done alone in a silent, focused state of deep reverie.
Knowing this, most experienced teams allow a day or two after identifying problems and root causes before moving into proposed countermeasures.
This page is not meant to be read like a book.
It is overflowing with questions and idea-starters...
each one worthy of focused attention at different times, to solve different problems
The most successful way to use this page
is to bookmark it, and come back to it each time that you have completed another cycle of Process Analysis and you are ready to (again) begin thinking about Process Improvement
(in a never-ending cycle of continuous improvement)
In a quiet, comfortable setting...
(perhaps with a warm beverage)
Review what you have learned so far by using your chosen Problem Solving Method.
What is known? What is unknown?
Set your intention
What is your intention for this Hansei session?
(Perhaps to come up with creative countermeasures for a specific challenge)
Enter an empowered state of mind
Enjoy some short ritual that brings you to an empowered state of calm alertness
Perhaps do a quick refresher
of our online training for
How to use trance for process improvement
Wander, then focus
With partially focused eyes, allow your attention to wander as your eyes dance over the somewhat blurry words on this Hansei page...
until your attention effortlessly settles on one question or idea that draws you to it
Ponder that question or idea...
scribbling short notes, but not getting too detailed yet
Then repeat that same habit... again and again...
until you surprise yourself with how many creative and useful ideas you have come up with.
Later... come back to your scribbled notes, and choose which ones you want to flesh out in greater detail
Perhaps using your decision making tools and/or perhaps using your Change Management template (ChangeMgmt.xlsx) to think about how to best present your ideas to the various stakeholders that might be affected by the changes.
Complete the final phases of your chosen Problem Solving Method to:
Perhaps use your Tool Selection Matrix (1ToolSelection.xlsx) to choose useful Process Improvement Tools and Systems to implement your ideas.
And then don't keep this a secret
People that consistently come up with well-conceived and well-presented great ideas will inevitably be promoted to higher levels of responsibility and influence.
One of the most important roles of any leader is to groom others
to improve their own habits and systems for creative thinking and problem solving...
ideally using teachable, repeatable systems for continuous improvement
like this one
Reflection Idea-Starter Questions
How we (truly) listened to the Voice of our Customer?
How well does this process fulfill those true needs?
(to consider flow between processes)
(to consider flow within the process)
What types of waste do we see?
In what ways?
In what ways?
Where is inventory piling? Information flow stopping, clogging, and queuing?
Why? How might things be redesigned to flow unobstructed?
Why? How might things flow in smaller clumps?
How might they be pulled?
What might help? Which standard work tools and methods might help?
(e.g. quarterly quotas, seasonal promotions, etc.)
Who has the power to reconsider these policies?
Have we played catchball? to ask others for their thoughts, their questions, their concerns, their ideas...
Have we asked all of the right people?
What do we see in those answers?
Use your Is Is Not Analysis template
What is the root cause of this problem?
(that our data is accurate, that our assumptions are correct, that we're making progress...)
Are we trying to narrow our focus, or expand our thinking?
Which step? What's next?
What did we expect to happen? What actually happened?
Are we ready to standardize this process to lock in the new (better) way?
Or should we run another PDCA experiment to learn something that still isn't fully understood?
How might we make work and flow more visual?
What other processes or teams might benefit from similar changes?
Who needs standard work?
Systemic Thinking consists of both:
1) Analytical thinking
Thinking about parts or elements.
Isolating root causes.
2) Synthetical thinking
(much less common)
Thinking about how parts and elements interact as part of a greater whole.
Looking for repeating patterns and themes.
Identifying similar processes that could also benefit from your most recent learning lessons.
To find tools to expand your thinking,
filter the 'Expand' column
in your Tool Selection Matrix
Objectives to keep in mind when getting into the details of lean process engineering
Technical Design objectives
(inventory, tools, people, equipment, instructions, performance feedback mechanisms...)
"The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions."
~ Tony Robbins
Empower Customer Contact Personnel
Design simple processes and fulfilling jobs
In general, process redesign should:
Reduce organizational boundaries
Re-draw organizational boundaries to:
Every lean tool needs
Lean Coaching System
Recast management as a supporting role
When front-line people are empowered, they need:
They don't need:
Ensure job security
Reassure people that it is safe to contribute their ideas for process improvement, using your templates for:
Some of the more popular Idea Generation tools for lean process improvement include:
Lean Management Systems
Problem Solving Tools
Decision Making tools
A3 Problem Solving
8D Problem Solving
Root Cause Analysis
Hoshin Team Catchball
Voice of the Customer
Value Stream Design Forms
Value Stream Analysis
SMED Setup Reduction
There are many more lean tools that can be used to expand your team's thinking.
To find them, filter the 'Expand' column in your Tool Selection Matrix
Own all of these templates for Continuous Process Improvement
to empower every team to improve every process in your organization