The fallacy of maturity assessments

Maturity assessments are a kind of qualitative audit during which the current “maturity” of an organization is compared to a maturity reference model and ranked accordingly to its score. As explained in the wikipedia article about maturity model (, the implementation is either top-down or bottom-up, but from my experience it is mostly top-down. The … Continue reading The fallacy of maturity assessments


If at least two tell the same

This post is a kind of extension to the previous “Solve problems with few, messy data” in which I exposed ways to overcome the lack of solid and sufficient data to start solving problems and improve. I faced such a case with few, messy and incomplete data where I managed to gather some bits out … Continue reading If at least two tell the same

Goal Tree: is it worth it?

Depending the methodology, building a Goal Tree requires some time and attention from top management. The one I am thinking of is typically a two to two and half day seminar (when led by an expert). Therefore the Chiefs often hesitate to invest this time as they are already overbooked and question the necessity of … Continue reading Goal Tree: is it worth it?

What is VSM good for?

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is one of the most popular tool of the Lean toolbox, frequently associated with finding improvement opportunities. Yet VSM is more than a kind of treasure map. >Lisez cet article en français Enabling “helicopter view” Drawing a VSM is like getting aboard a chopper and take off to watch the perimeter … Continue reading What is VSM good for?

Measurement is the first improvement step

It’s a kind of magic and it works every time: setup some indicators to measure something and this very something will automatically start improving, without any other action. Well, it looks a kind of magic but is a very human trait. People pay attention, stick to the rules and behave from the moment they can … Continue reading Measurement is the first improvement step

Checklist for Gemba walks

Can gemba walks be self-taught? I think so. What it takes basically to go-and-see is a lean thinking, striving-continuously-to-improve mindset. Yet rookie gemba walkers may not know what to look for or what to pay attention to when walking alone. When initiation is done with a sensei, the latter may ask questions to his disciple … Continue reading Checklist for Gemba walks

How lean are you? Part 6 – Gemba walk as lean assessment

Measuring leanness is not always necessary, for instance when gathering qualitative clues is good enough for the purpose of the assessment. This would be the case for qualifying a supplier or find improvement topics. Part 1 to part 4 of this series describe quantitative leanness assessment Gemba walk as qualifying audit When it comes to … Continue reading How lean are you? Part 6 – Gemba walk as lean assessment

How lean are you? Part 5

The previous posts described approaches for Lean assessment and leanness measurement with their strengths and weaknesses. Yet for self-assessment or when trying to get a feeling about a supplier, such in-depth analyses are not necessary. The next series of posts starting with this one deals with qualitative approaches of a Lean assessment. Starting with top … Continue reading How lean are you? Part 5

How Lean are you? Part 4

This is the fourth post in the How Lean are you? series. Measuring leanness In previous posts of this series I explained the advantage and necessity to assess leanness on two dimensions, one being primarily depicting how familiar with Lean tools and concepts people in the organization are, the second to measure tangible results: performance. … Continue reading How Lean are you? Part 4

What is a Goal Tree?

A Goal Tree, sometimes still referred to as Intermediate Objective Map or IO Map, is primarily a Logical Thinking Process tool, itself linked to the Theory of Constraints. The top of the tree deals with strategic planning while going down to its bottom links strategy to operations. The very top of the tree holds the Goal, … Continue reading What is a Goal Tree?