Kaizen meeting – How to make it efficient?

Kaizen is a great method to drive improvement actions. Assembled team in one room, focussing on chellenging topic, can help to run improvements much faster. This article will help you to run it very effective way.

this article covers:

  • What is Kaizen meeting?
  • Kaizen meeting phases.
  • Prework – to be ready is a key.
  • Kaizen meeting itself
  • Follow up meetings – key message
  • Kaizen meeting guidance download
Kaizen meeting = Rapid Improvement Workshop

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What is Kaizen meeting?

Kaizen meeting, also called rapid improvement workshop (RIW), is an event, where group of people from different teams are trying to improve common challenge. I am used to call this meeting โ€œworkshopโ€ or RIW.

You can download RIW guidance in the end of this article.

RIW can be part of larger project, but also separate one time initiative. Session must have strong business case, to be supported. It is time consuming, and pricy to get people in one room. So, everybody must understand what important challenge will be addressed, and how is influencing their processes.

Kaizen meeting is focus session that takes usually whole working day, or several days.

erik from six sigma mania
Understand goal prior the RIW

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Kaizen event main steps (+template) – read here

Kaizen meeting phases.

There are 3 phases of this meeting.

  • Prework and preparation
  • Meeting itself
  • and Follow up meetings

There can be only one person leading Kaizen meeting. Everybody must accept it, and trust, and listen to meeting leader.

Prework – to be ready is a key.

Prework and preparation is crucial for successful meetings. I can not emphesize enough, how important preparation is.

Follow these advices to be as much as ready as you can be:

  • Understand meeting goal and expected deliverables. This is usually discussed with sponsor. I suggest to create project charter, and describe all details in. Start planning meeting minimum 1 month prior the schedule.
  • Make sure, kaizen meeting has strong support from management.
  • Set up regular meeting with sponsor. 2 times per week meetings can help you to be comfortable with preparation progress review.
  • Identify involved team. Communicate to all people, that they were identified like participants for kaizen meeting. Explain what is a scope
  • Identify and collect important data prior to meeting. It is important to have right data explaining problem.
  • Do some prework analysis, if needed. Leader must be aware of what collected data are telling.
  • Choose tools to be used prior the meeting. Like current state value stream map to be drawn, or Voice of customer and its requirements. As much current state understanding as can be done, will help shorten kaizen meeting time.

Communication plan template- how to use it? – read here

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  • Choose tools to be used during the meeting. It can be future state mapping, process mapping, waste walk.
  • Prepare Kaizen meeting agenda. Describe detailed schedule, what must be done in each hour. Do not forget to include brakes.
  • Set up meeting with all involved in their calendars. This must be done in advance. All involved must free up their time
  • Share all documents with all team members via email.
  • Call short pre-meeting with all involved. Show project charter and done analysis results. Show agenda, and ask for feedback.
  • Choose the right size of the room to fit all invitees.
  • Arrange snacks, food and refreshments. There must be enough food for everybody. It can help you with people staying and not leaving the room. Plan common lunch and dinner with the team.

So, these are prework tasks for a leader. This is the most important and most demanding part of the workshop for leader.

Continuous improvement training video
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Kaizen meeting itself

Kaizen meeting itself is common focus on work by using time of that meeting.

Come fresh to the meeting. Do everything possible to feel comfortable and prepared.

  • I would suggest to start meeting with team introduction. Go one by one in the room, and ask to introduce person by name, position, and to say something funny about person.
  • Second thing is to introduce some rules during the session. Like phones switched off, stayed focus and do not leave the room, accept every opinion, react when other person stops talking. Do not forget to have fun, is very important rule too.
  • Introduce workshop agenda next.
  • Ask sponsor to introduce the workshop goal and main topics. It is OK, if it will be done through presentation.
  • You can review data, like VOC results, or current state process map. It is a great way to involve audience

5 easy ideas for Six Sigma Green belt project- here

  • Then it is time to roll up sleeves and start the work. Go tool by tool, topic by topic, that was planned to be done. You can start by waste walk, or listing pains per each process.
  • Carefully write down notes. Some of them can became tasks to be done. Identify owner of each task. It must be someone from present person. It can be delegated, but owner will report it out.
  • Develop future, the desired state of challenging process. You can do it by understanding basic requirement and discussing it. Define logical steps and create process map.
  • Create a plan and tasks to reach that future state. Do not forget to define task owner and its due date. Note everything carefully to the spread sheet.
  • Finish the meeting by asking for a feedback. And say thanks to participants for proactive discussions. It is necessary to agree on follow ups. How often will happen.
  • Organize all acquired information in some order. Finetune developed documentation. Share all documents with participants. This can be done next days after the workshop.
  • Reward yourself after the meeting. It is quite an exhausting experience to lead so many people in the room. Think about what when well, and what you would do differently next time.
Reward your self, you deserve it – great job done

The best kick off meeting? – this is how

Follow up meetings – key message

Follow up meetings are regular meetings to review progress on tasks. It can be online meeting too.

Set it up into calendars, with agreed regular occurrence. It can be weekly, or bi-weekly, or monthly. Based on requirements.

Go task by task, owner by owner. Note any progress, any difficulty.

Ask each owner, if there is anything that sponsor, or workshop team can help with to overcome difficulties.

Do not go too much in details, unless directly asked by sponsor, or stakeholder.

Finish the meeting once all tasks are reviewed, or dedicated time is up.

After Kaizen meeting steps

How to do Gemba walk? – read here

Kaizen meeting guidance download

There are 4 pdf. pages of the Kaizen meeting guidance. Prework is on first 2 pages. Kaizen meeting on page 3, and follow ups on page 4. And this is what you will get, when you assign with your email ๐Ÿ˜‰

Page 1- prework
page 2 – prework
page 3 – Kaizen meeting itself
page 4 – follow up meetings

And here is promised link:

I do videos, blog posts, and all templates for free, in my free time. I will appreciate if you can donate me a cup of cofee, for more energy in my creation. (1 dollar counts, too ๐Ÿ˜‰ Click on this link: I would like to support Erik in his effort

Do not forget to visit and subscribe my YouTube channel. I am uploading Six Sigma, Lean and Project oriented videos regurarly. So, stay tuned.

Yours sincerely Erik.

Kaizen meeting training video

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