A3 Thinking for Solving Complex Problems and Evolutionary Change (Alexei Zheglov)

Abstract

A3 reports are known as a way to capture problem-solving activities following the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle and also to focus problem-solvers’ thinking, helping them understand the problem deeply and uncover hidden root causes leading to effective countermeasures. This session demonstrates the potential of A3 Thinking as an evolutionary improvement method in organizations that can complement existing process and improvement methodologies, such as Agile, Kanban or ITIL.
The session contains a story of a “data centre crisis” in a software company, when multiple departments, each using different processes and improvement methods, came to work together to learn deeply about their common problem, address its root causes, drastically reduce the downtime and lock in lasting improvements. The story is used to reinforce several key aspects of A3 Thinking, to demonstrate its evolutionary nature, and to explore its relations to organizational complexity. The story also has a number of stopping points, highlighting several key coaching behaviours important to Lean/Kanban change agents, including: the non-judgmental attitude, avoiding resistance to change, working with the existing culture, validated learning, and the ability to lead improvements with safe-to-fail experimentation.

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