Gemba Academy Gemba Academy is the best provider of Lean and Six Sigma training, including online videos, on-site events, remote coaching and certifications. en Tue, 12 Sep 2023 17:58:35 -0500 Tue, 12 Sep 2023 17:58:35 -0500 90-Day Lean Roadmap Thu, 28 Jun 2018 11:02:00 -0500 Steven Kane

The 90-Day Get Started Plan is a model for guiding Gemba Academy subscribers through the first phases of a lean deployment. There is no single right way to begin a lean journey. This plan uses only a few lean practices and tools to get an organization started with both a lean management system and a lean production system in a pilot area.

Download the 90-Day Plan PDF

  • The intent is for your team to learn from the deployment in the pilot area in about 90 days. The lessons learned should then be used to deploy to the next area and the next.
  • The roadmap is for people at various levels of the organization. It illustrates what is to be done and by whom while establishing a timeline for completion.
  • The emphasis is on developing lean leadership routines along with continuous improvement and problem-solving routines.

Key Milestones

  1. Change Management: Upcoming changes are communicated to the organization. People are aware that work will be done differently, using lean methods and principles, and that they will be supported through this change. The essentials (who, what, when, where, why, and how) are clarified.
  2. Continuous Improvement Learning Begins: Supervisors teach associates in a pilot area 5S and coach them through the implementation and sustainment of 5S.
  3. Daily Gemba Walks Begin: Senior leaders walk through the value creating processes to see with their own eyes how customer needs are being met and how problems are being solved. They use their observations to coach the supervisors.
  4. Lean Management System Supports a Lean Production System: The beginnings of the lean management system are established and actively used at the various levels of leadership to support the lean production system. Key elements include:
    1. Visual Management: Whiteboards or other simple visual tools to make the work visible and to drive collaboration.
    2. Leader Standard Work: Simple leadership routines to support teams.
    3. Daily Accountability: Brief stand-up meetings, or huddles, to keep teams aligned with customer need, organizational goals, and problem solving.
  5. Associates Drive Continuous Improvement: The people who own the processes solve their own problems with coaching from supervisors.

The roadmap consists of a timeline, a swim lane diagram, and a lean learning path. Any or all elements of the roadmap should be changed to suit the needs of your organization.

The Timeline

90 Day Timeline

The timeline shows responsibilities for three roles: senior leaders, supervisors, and associates. The titles and layers of leadership will vary from one organization to the next. You’ll need to decide how to categorize the roles in your organization.

A key aspect of the timeline is the list of general responsibilities associated with each role. Leadership roles (both senior leaders and supervisors) are associated with learning, teaching, coaching, and practicing lean. What is to be learned, taught, coached, and practiced is listed on the timeline.

The sequence of events on the timeline is more important than the schedule. The recommendation is to move quickly, allowing no unnecessary delays.

Don’t let perfect get in the way of progress.

Mistakes will be made, and they will become great learning opportunities. Do your best to avoid analysis paralysis. You’re strongly encouraged to keep the team moving.

Simple, Visual, Manual

The suggestion is to write your own timeline on a whiteboard. While the example in this plan was created using information technology for simple distribution, a simple and manual visual timeline is essential to promote teamwork and clear communication.

The Swim Lane Diagram

90 Day Swim Lane

The swim lane diagram lists general tasks by role and time period. The example provided lists the tasks by month. You’re encouraged to do what works best for your team. The intent is to make the work visible and have the diagram illustrate workload and progress.

Again, a simple and manual system such as a whiteboard is suggested.

The Lean Learning Path

The lean learning path organizes Gemba Academy’s lean learning content in progression. It explains the general topic covered, its purpose, the related resources, and what to do at the place the work is done.

There are three parallel paths. One each for senior leaders, supervisors, and associates.

Roles and Responsibilities

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The associate’s responsibility is to both create value for the customer and to continuously improve processes. The leader’s responsibility is to teach, coach, mentor, and inspire.

The timeline shows leaders learning a topic using Gemba Academy resources, then teaching direct reports. The conversations that come up and the questions addressed during learning sessions are a valuable part of the learning process. Not only does the learner develop an awareness of the topic presented, but also gains clarity on the direction of the organization and the intent of leadership.

Let Gemba Academy be the Subject Matter Expert

Leaders teaching lean topics can rely on Gemba Academy content to present the material. Facilitator guides and learner workbooks are included with the course content. Every learner gets the same message from one learning session to the next. Learning content can be reviewed quickly and easily in the training room or at the place the work is done.

Getting Support

Contact us

Optional coaching support is available from the Gemba Academy Customer Success Team. Biweekly coaching calls are encouraged through this 90-day period. Our coaches are experienced lean leaders and practitioners.

To inquire about our coaching support, please contact us here. We’re here to help you be successful.

Our courses:

Introductory Topics


Seven Deadly Wastes

Standard Work

Workplace Visualization

Hoshin Planning

Lean Journey Map: A Visual Guide to Bridging the Gap Between Current State and Future State Tue, 30 May 2017 09:35:00 -0500 Steven Kane
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Any journey begins with an idea or understanding of where one is going and why. When working with other people, communicating their destination and purpose is essential to getting the group to move together. Long journeys require frequently regrouping to remind the team of the destination and purpose and also to reassess the current state.

The Lean Journey Map is a simple visual tool to improve communication and clarify the future state, current state, obstacles, and countermeasures. It gives a team something to point at to answer the questions "Where are we?" and "Where are we going?"

This is a visual supplement to text and data intensive tools.

Step 1: Define your future state. What is the measurable goal to be attained in 1-3 years? Change from what number to what number by when? Place this goal on the map (actually it's a graph) where the goal date on the X-axis intersects with the appropriate condition on the Y-axis.

Step 2: Plot your current state. Get input from the entire team on what the current condition relative to the Y-axis. There's no need to worry about being overly precise. Place a large dot on that point and write a brief description about what the team is doing about the situation today.

Step 3: Take a step. Align with lean principles and move. Teach, coach, mentor, and inspire others to move in the same direction. There's no need to be perfect or to reach your goal in a single step. Move. Keep moving. Don't worry about taking a step in the wrong direction. If that happens, the misstep will make itself known soon enough and you'll be able to adjust.

Step 4: Measure, collect feedback, and reflect. Are you heading in the right direction? Is the team aligned with lean principles and the desired future state?

Step 5: Adjust. Congratulations! You've made progress. Remember that the step you just took was to be better, not perfect. What problems were discovered? What needs to be done differently? What is your next short-term target?

Now, update your map with your team. Go back to step 1 and repeat the process. Use the map as a point of discussion at stand-up meetings and strategy sessions. It illustrates the teams thinking and actions, focusing on improving the organization for the purpose of reaching a specific goal.

Lean Journey Map

Five Lean Transformation Tips Wed, 19 Apr 2017 09:47:00 -0500 Steven Kane
Sign Challenges Ahead

Any lean journey will be challenging much of the time. Continually facing problems can be overwhelming. It can be very easy to lose sight of what is important or what you're trying to accomplish. Here are five simple tips to keep in mind on your lean journey.

1. People first. Show respect for everyone. Demonstrate the values and principles you'd like to see in others. Maintain a blame-free environment where people can experiment, fail, and eventually succeed.

2. Lean is about solving problems and developing people. Teach people to solve their own problems and give them the responsibility, autonomy, and support to do it. Leaders will have to get used to giving people space to work and experiment.

3. Don’t let perfect get in the way of good. Go for small incremental improvements from everyone every day. Don't worry about making things perfect with the first iteration of an improvement. Work quickly in small PDCA cycles to make incremental improvements. Keep at it and before you know it, all of your small improvements will add up to big improvements!

4. Know the 7 Deadly Wastes. Everyone in the organization needs to know the 7 deadly wastes and work relentlessly to eliminate them--again, small improvements every day. Learn to see waste in all processes. Develop a system to identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement.

5. Connect each team member to the goals and vision of the organization. Create clear and open two-way communication cascading from the top of the organization through every level of the org chart. Brief stand up meetings at the beginning of the day are a great way to do this. In some organizations, this might mean some people will attend multiple stand up meetings every day. For example, a manager might attend a management team stand up meeting and then attend a supervisor's meeting.

Gemba Academy is your continuous improvement partner. Please contact our customer success team to talk about how we might be able to further support your lean journey.