Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Kaizen 30-Day Homework List

At the end of a fast paced, energy draining, week long kaizen event, despite all the improvements achieved, our teams always ends up with tasks that they did not complete during the event. Even with a well defined scope and dedicated kaizen team, some items from our kaizen newspaper still remain open. During the kaizen report out, these items show up on our kaizen 30-day homework list.

Some things to think about……

Are kaizen 30-day homework lists considered good or bad?

Can we complete a kaizen event without having a 30-day homework list? Should we?

What does this say about the effectiveness of our kaizen event?

What items are allowed to end up on the list?

Do we intentionally leave items off?

Do we put the same high level of energy and focus on completing the 30-day homework list as we put forth during our kaizen event itself?

Do we follow-up on the 30-day homework list?

Are homework items tracked, measured and reported?

Are people held accountable? Don’t blame the dog!

Do homework items get done?

How can we improve our 30-day homework process?

Do certain items habitually find themselves on our homework list? Is there a pattern?

What resources can we dedicate or make available during the event to help reduce the number of items ending up on the homework list?

What can we learn from our kaizen 30-day homework list?


Anonymous said...

I've been doing lean kaizen events in healthcare for several years, and I am not a fan of the long homework lists. In the events I facilitate we normally are able to dedicate 2 days to the planning phase and 2 days to actually making improvements in the streams involved. This has helped reduce the size of the lists, nevertheless, we still have the homework lists. The biggest obstacle is time. The process owners often put the lists at the bottom of their priority list. Perhaps they need a person from the team or a person from their department - an embedded facilitator - to help drive completion of the list. Also, the champions - other higher level staff - need to take an active role in the followup.

Best of luck to you.

Mike T. said...

After several years of kaizen invovlement with several companies, I can say that I see this often.

We generally have an 80-85% completion rate, but that still leaves homework (and, sadly, it often includes Standardized Work). There are several of us, from multiple facilities, currently taking on the project of "post-kaizen follow-up and continuous improvement moving forward". Sounds like a mouthful! We are in the VERY initial stage (3 of us just brainstormed YESTERDAY!)and plan to involve 3 of us from the Lean/Six-Sigma group, the Corporate HR VP (of the 17,000 employee Corporation), and one, as yet undetermined, 'informal leader' at the plant/general management level as our primary team. Our secondary or champions will be the COO and the Manufacturing VP of the corporation.

Our goal is to address many of the same issues both you and "anonymous" identified, notably ownership, follow-through, responsibility, and cultural transition. We've sketched out an A3 to present to the COO. We'll see how things go from there.