One of the issues Mike Rother says he has had with the coaching questions in Toyota Kata is question #5 “When can we go see what you have learned?”
In the west, inevitably it seems, once the word “When” is uttered, everyone in the conversation leaps to hear “When will you be done?” no matter how the question is actually framed.
As I am understanding it right now, the actual intent is for the coach to establish two things:
- The PDCA cycle needs to be turned rapidly. “When…”? is meant to establish a time fame that might be measured in hours, or even minutes, rather than days or weeks. The more quickly the PDCA cycle is turned, the more thoroughly the problem is understood and the more robust the countermeasure.
- “What we have learned…” means “What surprises did you encounter?” “What went differently than you expected?” “What didn’t work the way you thought it would?” this part of the question is intended to drive home the point that it is these things, not the success, that drive deeper understanding plus give clues about the next problem that must be addressed.
Based on Rother’s experience with this question, I am tinkering with how to re-frame it so I can use it more effectively. Ultimately the behavior I want is an invitation to jointly observe how the proposed countermeasure has changed the process. We want to understand the actual effect vs the intended effect.
That, of course, requires that the intended effect is understood and explicitly stated before trying. That does NOT mean that every little step is documented on paper such as an A3. That is far too cumbersome at this level of granularity. We want this process to cycle faster than the time required to write this stuff down. It does mean that I would have evidence that it has been thought through rather than just blindly trying something.