Kata and lean - Lean Competency System

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Kata and lean thinking

From a lean thinking perspective, kata can be seen as a problem solving method to create incremental, continuous improvement by repeating a four step routine that teaches and facilitates a logical, scientific approach to problem-solving.

The kata helps build scientific thinking skills that make learners better problem solvers. Kata develops new habits and skills as the kata learner works through a series of practice routines with a kata Coach, constantly reviewing what has been done, what has been learned, and what are next steps.

In this activity small, incremental changes are made and tested and learning incorporated in working toward the broader vision or challenge. Given that the Improvement Kata and the Coaching Kata combine to form a powerful method for developing problem solving skills, kata can be clearly seen to support lean, and indeed even strengthen the effectiveness of lean tools and techniques.

It also directly incorporates the PDCA scientific problem solving method used to make continuous improvement a regular habit.

Note that you cannot implement kata. You practice a kata to develop a skill and the Improvement Kata and the Coaching Kata will not replace your current improvement methods, but support them.

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