Why It Makes Sense (Sometimes) to Start With Hoshin Kanri | Dan Markovitz | IndustryWeek

“Strategy deployment is a powerful way to get the leadership team involved in the lean journey.For a long time, I’ve been dismissive of organizations that want to start their lean journeys with hoshin kanri, (also known as strategy deployment). When you’ve got a company where people are not engaged (at best) or suspicious of management (at worst), it seems to me that getting people involved in everyday improvement to make their jobs easier is a better place to start.[…] Until now. Recently, my colleague and friend Katie Anderson pointed out something I’ve completely missed: that strategy deployment is a powerful way to get the leadership team involved in the lean journey.”

Sourced through IndustryWeek

Michel Baudin‘s comments: As I have great respect for both Dan Markovitz and Katie Anderson, I have to paraphrase Judge Haller from My Cousin Vinny, “That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out argument… Overruled.”

The flaw I see in Dan’s argument is that it only addresses employee engagement, which isn’t the only reason to start with local, tactical shop-floor projects with both technical and managerial content. In an organization that is just starting on its journey, the successful initial projects are most commonly setup time reduction or cell conversion of a process segment. Besides engaging employees, they also produce tangible improvements, develop technical and managerial skills, and let leaders emerge.

After a number of these projects, these leaders start making comments like “This is all great stuff but where does it lead us?” This is the sign that they are ready for Hoshin Planning and that it is necessary. If you don’t start Hoshin Planning at this point, you veer towards a “popcorn implementation,” with point kaizens popping out without an overall direction.

Skipping the projects and going straight to Hoshin Planning, on the other hand, is tantamount to conducting an orchestra with musicians who can’t play their instruments. Organization members can join the Hoshin Planning process with the best intentions but they have no ownership in the tools, they don’t know where they are applicable, what good they can do, or what it takes to implement them.

I have found the best English-language introduction to it to be Pascal Dennis’s Getting the Right Things Done, which I have translated into French as Déployez Vos Stratégies Lean.