Helping Make A3 Work, Part 2
Last Friday I started posting some Q&A on the transformation of problem solving using A3 methods. This is in support of a webinar I am leading on the topic. Here we continue to the Q&A.
Q3. What advantages does A3 have over other problem solving methodologies?
There are some advantages that are small. It is often more flexible in its use on different types of problems. But the biggest advantage it has is that it is making the thinking visible. It shows more of how you thought as you moved from the problem to the recommendation, rather than just the data. Because of this, two things happen. First, many arguments and disagreements about a recommended action are in actuality disagreements about assumptions made of either the current reality or target condition. If we can’t make our assumptions visible, then they can’t be discussed. Second, making the thinking visible enables coaching. You can’t coach outcomes. If someone just shows you that they failed to achieve the outcome, you don’t know why unless you can see their thought process. Creating visible thinking is what is unique about the A3 process.
Q4. Why has A3 become so popular recently?
Lean has been mostly about tools for many years. As broad knowledge of lean begins to mature, more people realize that it is also about thinking, principles, and behaviors. But thinking and behaviors are hard to teach and do. A3 became a method that was more flexible in its use, and therefore got closer to how an individual thought about a problem or a process. Because of this maturity of lean knowledge, the value of A3 was seen and so its popularity began to grow. Of course, don’t forget to take into account that many people like to be on the leading edge and will simply grab the latest tool to show they are part of it. There is a fair amount of that going on as well.
I’d love to hear your questions about the use of A3. Please share them in the comments and I’ll try to include them. And if you like what you’re reading, please sign up to subscribe via RSS or email to the right.