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Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process Pap/Chrt Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1934109205
ISBN-10: 1934109207
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.; Pap/Chrt edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934109207
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934109205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mr. Ross Maynard on December 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
In a readable and accessible style, John Shook provides an excellent introduction to the "A3" plan for problem solving. It is the most accessible and understandable beginners level book I have seen on the subject.

Pascal Dennis' "Getting the Right Things Done" also covers the A3 process - though for strategy deployment. Personally I find John Shook's "Managing to Learn" more readable and a better introduction to the A3, though they do cover different ground and the one doesn't replace the other.

If you want to know more about the A3 planning and problem solving process - that ties everything in lean together - this is a great place to start.
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THE FIRST BOOK I RECOMMEND TO EXECUTIVES AND LEADERS ON A LEAN JOURNEY.

John Shook, building upon his Japanese language and work experience including 10 years with Toyota has again written a practical book which will accelerate those on a lean journey.

Of 250+ continuous improvement books studied over the past 19 years, this 2008 release immediately ranks amoung the top 5 in my library. Helpful for those biased through exposure to Six Sigma and DMAIC, this book is ideal for practitioners, leaders and consultants.

The soft side of change is very well addressed. Advocacy, inquiry, gaining buy-in, fear, frustrations and jubilation are presented in a creative and highly effective format (although some may not appreciate nemawashi and hansei at first) . The soft skills are the hardest part of any lean journey and normally receive too little attention.

Most pages are divided into a right and a left hand column representing the project leader and the executive who is the coach of the project leader. The use of this unusual format addresses one of the most challenging issues (and opportunities for improvement) when embarking upon a lean journey......engaging leadership in their role of driving organizational learning through coaching.

The introduction felt "slow," but do not let the first 7 pages discourage you. The story told is rich with real world emotions, dead ends, and rewritings, including numerous additional A3 case studies.

For those without a flexible mind and the ability to think in processes, the document translation process improvement story line throughout the book may not seem applicable to manufacturing processes.
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John Shook has written a solid book that can stand proudly alongside the other books in the Lean Enterprise Institute's lineup. This book is especially useful for those new to lean who want to understand the nuts and bolts of how the A3 management system works. Most people new to lean begin applying the tools without a full appreciation of the management system or the real thinking that goes on behind it. Without these supporting mechanisms, people's efforts at lean deployment generate small results and sustainment is poor. A3s are one of the key tools to successful deployment.

As with other books in the LEI lineup, this book is very readable. The illustrations are simple, the examples are straightforward, and the text is well-edited and well-structured. This book takes a fictional company as an example. As one who helps teach others, the narrative style has irritated me because authors frequently use it in a pure storytelling format. Books like these often have little instructional value because they are difficult to study from. Managing to Learn tells a company's example story, but it also explains and discusses the narrative events in a second column of text in the margin. Its almost like your floating above the players with your sensei, hearing the thoughts of the actors and an explanation by your lean leader. Combined with sidebar comments and uncluttered illustrations, the layout and style of this book make it a rich reference and a great study and teaching tool.

As the book points out, there are a number of ways A3s can be used, and Managing to Learn shows examples of each. The theme linking all of these together is the systematic problem solving thinking that is at the heart of A3 thinking.
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Good examples of how A3 analysis is supposed to work. The author does a nice job of presenting the viewpoint of both the person writing the A3 and the manager mentoring the process. The different paths explored by the student were very legitimate. Key takeaway is the A3 process requires time to implement and is not a management quick fix. I'd recommend this book for teams looking to implement A3 analysis as one of their tools to use in the Lean process.
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I love how all the LEI books that I have read so far are so simple, easy to use and yet are 100% crystal clear in delivering the purpose and intent of the tool they are teaching about. I took to heart the guidance in this book and have been applying it's teachings and am seeing exactly what it says I should be seeing as outcomes. So that makes this one fine teaching tool. That takes skill. Thank you LEI.
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