Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How Do I Pick an A3 Team

One of the most important considerations when you are doing A3 (rapid kaizan) is picking your team. The general rule of thumb is an A3 team is comprised of 3, 4, or 5 people, including the leader. One important role of the Lean Champion is to help A3 leaders make the right choices. This help comes in the form of asking why?

The general tendency when people are new to A3 is to pick their friends. People they eat with, drink with, or work most easily with. Then biggest benefit of A3 thinking is in leveraging the diversity of people. People come from different backgrounds, experiences and thought processes. The innovative thinking that occurs in coming to the target condition is the result of this diversity.

Team members should include a representative from the people who will be effected by the process change(s) that result. It is also good to have a wild card on the team, a person who is unfamiliar with the actual problem to be solved.

People will quickly learn how to pick the right team. When they pick their friends, they are more likely to miss the target date. With good coaching, people will get very good at A3, and will become world class at root cause analysis. Some will get there very quickly, and their peers will recognize these people and they will be in demand by multiple team leaders.

Again, as the Lean Champion, my role is to ask why. This is done right after the team has been picked, and before the team gets together for the first time to observe and discuss the current condition. Why did you pick this person? Who else did you consider and why didn't you pick them? Once the team has been picked, it's important that the A3 leader approach and ask their team members to participate. In person. Not by e-mail or voice mail.

Lean is about PEOPLE, not tools.

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