A3 refers to a paper size and to a structured way of problem solving from the Toyota Production System. Central to A3 thinking are PDCA, kata and collaboration. The structured approach in A3 thinking helps people to solve problems at the root cause. Producing an A3 is never a solitary endeavor. There are several ideas central to good A3 thinking:
'Lean is not lean if it does not involve everyone' - John Shook
There are a lot different A3 formats out there. There is not one good format, as long as it works for you and it involves scientific thinking and collaboration. I have four favorite formats I use often:
- An A3 for problem definition (see above)
- A progress report
- A project end report
- An appreciative A3 from the combination of appreciative inquiry with lean six sigma
There is a lot more to be said about A3 thinking. I will save this for later blogs. You can also find more information in my longread in the member area. As long as you use PDCA and kata you can hardly go wrong.