A3 basics

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:  

  • By defining the problem with all parties involved a deeper understanding can be reached about the root cause and the severity of the problem
  • By going to see for yourself you can add to the shared knowledge
  • By looking for facts we can get a shared base of knowledge
  • By making the A3 a work in progress people will feel more free to add to it
  • By using scientific thinking like PDCA and kata you can not just solve the problem but also keep in learning on how to get better at preventing and solving problems

'Lean is not lean if it does not involve everyone' - John Shook

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A3 defining the problem

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:

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.

Infographic coaching kata

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