Six Sigma Problem Solving

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So I’ve done some research on some of these steps and I found that depending on who you’re following, there are different steps. But universally, these are basically the format that it’s being followed and this is most prevalent, the Toyota Business Practice for these steps, for problem-solving.

So as you can see, the first five steps is on the left side of the A3.

And so there’s – at a high level, it’s a very simple methodology in terms of Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust.

And for a better understanding of what’s happening in each of these steps, we’re going to look at the Toyota business practice within PDCA and these are steps that are a little bit more detailed around the steps for this practical problem-solving.

And they got current state, analysis, countermeasures, and then the implementation. Next is 24% used during all of the PDCA cycle, which is great. So A3s, it does follow PDCA and we’re going to get to that in just a minute.

So it really just depends on the flexibility and how are you leveraging and doing the thinking around that. So I kind of already hit pretty hard that it makes the Lean thinking visible, and that’s really important especially for your own growth as well as communication with others as you’re fixing something as well as leaders helping their people. So again, when you’re trying to solve problems, you’re helping your people have a common approach to solving problems. And then two trailers either they use it at the end which was what I saw and then other, 6%. But it also, if you do an A3, if you fill out an A3, it also follows DMAIC which is the Six Sigma because guess what? And so, if you’re familiar with DMAIC, if you’ve done any Green Belt or Black Belt or Yellow Belt training, the A3 does follow DMAIC because again like I said, it follows the scientific like PDCA or PDSA.

That should have been happening as you’re going through the problem-solving. And it’s a lot easier to just walk around with a piece of paper and show people as opposed to sending it to them via email buried under the 300 emails that they can’t get to and they don’t get a chance to look at it. If you need to do like drive-by office visits, right? It’s not really a scheduled meeting but you happen to walk by somebody’s office and they’re in it and they don’t look like they are busy and you’re going to go talk to them and now you got your piece of paper right in front of you. So again, it’s a tool to build that problem-solving muscle for you and for your peers as well as people who are leaders. I want to see how many people online actually have used an A3 before. Use at the end of an improvement to document it is B. They’re not really taking advantage of how it can be useful throughout the problem-solving method. And it is a fact and it is true that A3 follows DMAIC as well as PDCA.

So we’re going to launch a poll and we’re going to see how you’ve done with A3s before. Use during all of the PDAC cycle of improvement, C. Maybe you’re using it as a placemat when you go eat your lunch. So if you have a Six Sigma background and you’re looking to build your skills around A3, if you follow DMAIC on an A3, you wouldn’t be wrong.

So, it is a one-page report or document and you’re using it as you solve the problem. So when people say they’re in the plan phase or the do phase or the step, people can understand what’s happening there. So again like I said, you don’t fill it out after, which is also a mistake. I have seen it a lot there as well that people feel like it’s supposed to be an accountability thing that they have to fill out to get credit of some kind and they’re not really using it as a development tool or a thinking tool. So it’s either really they either haven’t used it or they used it throughout PDCA. So the one we thought the people on this webinar having that situation as much. Some people might be freaking out right now if they come from the Lean-only side of the world. At Go Lean Six, we’re not big promoters of which camp is better, the Lean camp or the Six Sigma camp.

Some people look at it like, “I’m now going to fill this piece of paper out.” No! So you socialize the A3 and you communicate with the A3. Elisabeth Swan: I see it when largely – I see people sort of using it at the end of a project. They might even say this is sacrilegious because I put DMAIC on an A3. We are big promoters though of making it easy for people to build their problem-solving muscles and we want to meet people where they are and we want to make connections that people understand to expand their learning.


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