Saturday, November 12, 2016

LEAN HARD TALK. Why KATA cannot be combined with HOSHIN KANRI.

If we understand kata as behavioral pattern, then we should observe that there are good and bad katas: i.e. smoking represents a bad habit that, if repeated, can create serious hazards to our health (the system). Meditation, on the other hand, fosters concentration and self control and has, if regularly repeated, many positive side effects.

M. Rother's KATA is based upon the definition of "target-states". I first understand the direction, then I try to understand the current state (A), then I move, through PDCA to this target state (B). At an individual level, all correct. Clean and easy.

BUT... what are the consequences of such a behavioral pattern for the organization?

Think about an organization, maybe yours, in which Value Streams depend on each other to perform. Just imagine that what controlling decides on savings affects the quality of the product or that what the production department decides on throughput affects inventory management. It sounds realistic, doesn't it?

It certainly does! Processes and Value Streams in organizations around the globe are interdependent! Situations in which egoist decision-makers affect other parts of the organization in the fight for scarce resources are part of the organizational nature. KATA neglects this reality. Such a model is therefore clearly at best naïv and at worst just plain wrong because it only fosters local optima and is only conceived for the empowerment of the individual.

Hoshin Kanri interpretations that try to integrate KATA in their thinking are nothing more than sand castles because KATA as described by Rother cannot be made scalable.

In order to implement HK correctly, you need behavioral patterns such as (CPD)nA that is scalable.

You can read more about it under LEAN HARD TALK or in Chapter 4 of the book The Hoshin Kanri Forest: Lean Strategic Organizational Design.

You can also contact me under or leave a comment on this blog!

All the best from Utah,

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