At the end of a fast-paced, energy-draining, week-long kaizen event, despite all the improvements achieved, our teams always end up with tasks that they did not complete during the event. Even with a well-defined scope and dedicated kaizen team, some items from our kaizen newspaper still remain open. During the kaizen “report out”, these items show up on our kaizen 30-day homework list.

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Some things to think about …

Are kaizen 30-day homework lists considered good or bad?

Can we complete a kaizen event without having a 30-day homework list? Should we?

What does this say about the effectiveness of our kaizen event?

What items are allowed to end up on the list?

Do we intentionally leave items off?

Do we put the same high level of energy and focus on completing the 30-day homework list as we put forth during our kaizen event itself?

Do we follow-up on the 30-day homework list?

Are homework items tracked, measured and reported?

Are people held accountable? Don’t blame the dog!

Do homework items get done?

How can we improve our 30-day homework process?

Do certain items habitually find themselves on our homework list? Is there a pattern?

What resources can we dedicate or make available during the event to help reduce the number of items ending up on the homework list?
What can we learn from our kaizen 30-day homework list?
These questions are food for thought. Let me know your ideas on this subject.

About the author:
Mike Wroblewski started his lean journey with instruction in quick die change from Shigeo Shingo. Mike is currently the lean sensei at Batesville Casket Company in Batesville, Ind. He also writes a blog called “Got Boondoggle?” featuring lean and Six Sigma topics. Check it out at http://gotboondoggle.blogspot.com/.