A3 report

The summary of a project, proposal or problem-solving activity down to a single sheet of A3-sized paper, or 11-by-17 inch sheet in U.S. size.

A-B Control

A method to regulate workflow between a pair of machine operations A and B to prevent overproduction. The process is allowed to flow when there is a work piece at point A but not at point B. Operation A cannot feed Operation B until B is empty.

ABC Analysis

Volume-based groupings used to segment part numbers in order to define the inventory policy that they fall within. “A” parts are high value and high volume and require the closest management, while “B” items are high volume or high value. “C” items are low value and lower volume.

Abnormality Management

Seeing and quickly taking action to correct abnormalities, as defined as any deviation from the standard. Abnormality Management is the goal of standardization and visual management. Continuous improvement is only possible when the abnormalities are visible.

Activity-Based Costing

Activity-Based Costing is a management accounting system that assigns cost to products based on the resources used to perform a process (design, order entry, production, etc.) These resources include floor space, raw materials, energy, machine time, labor, etc.

Actual Takt Time

The takt time calculated by taking into account real world issues that result in losses to the available time.

Advanced Process Quality Planning

A framework of procedures and techniques to develop products in industry with better quality, particularly in the automotive industry.

Affinity Diagram

A process to organize brainstorming ideas or information by placing them on cards and grouping the cards by affinity, or common themes. “Header” cards are used to summarize each group of cards.


An iterative approach to project management and product development that helps teams deliver value more quickly and smoothly to customers. Agile teams deliver work in small but usable increments rather than launching later but in full. Agile is a time boxed, iterative approach to delivery by building incrementally from the start of the project. Agile does this by breaking projects down to small bits of user functionality called user stories, prioritizing them, and then continuously delivering them through iterations called sprints, often two-week cycles.

Agile Estimation

A set of techniques used in Agile to evaluate the effort, typically in terms of time, that will be needed to complete a specified development task.

Agile Kanban Board

A visual management tool used in agile project management to help limit work-in-progress and maximize flow. Kanban boards organize cards describing tasks, on a board in columns, showing status such as not started, in process, delayed or done.

Agile Manifesto

A document based on the combined experience of seventeen software developers aimed at helping others to share values and good practices. The values include:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

The manifesto also included the 12 Agile software development principles.

See also 12 Agile Software Development Principles

Agile Retrospectives

Agile Scrum

See Scrum

Alternate hypothesis

Abbreviated Ha, this is a statement that the observed difference or relationship between two populations is real and not the result of chance or sampling error.

Analysis of Variance

Abbreviated ANOVA, this is a form of hypothesis testing that determines whether' there is a significant difference in the means or averages of two populations of data.


Andons are visual signals to indicate status. Andons are often color-coded lights, flags or other visuals attached to equipment or processes. The color green indicates normal operations, yellow indicates a non-critical interruption such as changeover or planned maintenance, and red indicates an abnormal such as quality defects, missing information or equipment breakdown. Visual signals are often combined with an audible signal such as music or alarms. "Andon" originates from the Japanese word for "lamp".

Andon Board

A board that lights up to indicate the status of normal or abnormal conditions of processes. The board is organized by sections of a production line, machines, or processes. The board is typically placed in a high-visibility location.

Andon cord

A cord or rope placed at the workstation, which the worker is encouraged to pull when she detects a problem or abnormality, alerting the team leader.

See also Andon System

Andon system

A visual management system that highlights the status of operations in an area. Andon systems typically use a reg-green or red-yellow-green color-code to show status at a single glance. Green is OK, red indicates a problem or abnormality, and yellow indicates interruption due to problem resolution, equipment changeover or other standard condition.

Air Pocket Changeover

The capability to perform rolling changeovers such that each machine is changed within takt time so that the lost capacity is only one piece (one takt beat).

See also Sequential Changeover

Arrow Diagram

A graphical tool used to determine the optimal sequence of events, their inter-connectivity, and the critical path through the nodes.

Assignable Cause

Attribute Data


See Jidoka

Autonomous Maintenance

Engaging operators in doing basic daily maintenance activities such as cleaning, lubrication, inspection of their equipment. One of the pillars of TPM.

Autonomous Teams

Work groups empowered by the organizational to make independent decisions related to a specific work functions, projects or job duties, the responsibility to assign individual members specific tasks within the group, establish their own internal goals and improve their work practices.

Autonomous Work Groups