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Managing to Learn

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  457 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Rare book
Paperback, 127 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Lean Enterprises Inst Inc (first published 2008)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, blog-shelf
This was one of the best management books I have read in a long time. I love the applicable A3 as a tool, but even better, knowing that the tool is really the way you think, not the form itself. I will use this immediately. Definitely a must read for everyone.
Nov 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: folks doing Lean for work, or wanting to learn it
Recommended to Angela by: John Toussaint
It takes a while to get used to the format of this book: two stories run side-by-side (sort of). They don't match up exactly, but the reader is bouncing back and forth from the perspective of the mentor and the "mentee" in a rigorous problem solving process. Mixed in with that are random, bite-sized bits of reference info - a tad odd, but it works. I like the creativity of the layout, but will need to sift back through to find the key points in the future. Recommended if you're fairly familiar w ...more
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
"Managing to Learn" is an excellent book for managers and coaches of A3 authors/advocates. John Shook is a true sensei with 11 years of Toyota history and real world experience in helping organizations with Lean transformations. I have been learning a lot from his incredible blog posts recently as well.

My organization is about 5 months into our A3 launch so I have been researching a lot for best practices and ideas. I initially thought this book was going to be a "how to" guide for the author of
J Scott
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
A good friend recommended this book late last year. I bought it and have skimmed it a few times; getting a general flavor. At his recent prompting, I sat down and read it through---and I'm glad I did. There is much to learn from Mr. Shook's able description of the A3 process and he teaches using a method similar to that used in The Goal---however, this is much better. There are a few moments when the scenarios seemed a bit contrived, but the point was made. I plan to re-read and put into action ...more
Heather Carreiro
I have never flown through a book for a graduate class in two days before, and while actually reading every word. Shook's dual narrative approach makes this in-depth book on Lean Management, and specifically the A3 approach, accessible and interesting. I recommend this book for anyone in leadership or teaching. As an educator, I can immediately implement so many of these concepts to grow learners and leaders in my classes. ...more
By far the best lean related book I've read. Complemented well the training sessions we had earlier in the spring. Also a total eye opener in terms of understanding how to lead other individuals go through the problem solving process in a structured way. Highly recommended to anybody who has even some degree of exposure to lean in their professional environment. ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic overview of the A3 way of thinking and improving the way of work. I love how John has written it as two books in one, sharing both the story of the learner and the story of the coach side by side.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Was sort of forced to read this at work, but at least the writing style made it interesting. Very good to help understand what true problem-solving is, but don’t see it being something I would do unless required to and that a company gives you tools to do.
B Jansen
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, the way it presented an A3 story being developed with the learner and mentor's thining side by side on the same page. Just the guide and inspiration I was looking for, an A3 sensei in a book. ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good primer on the A3 process and one that I'll keep handy for reference. I appreciated the layout which illustrated the process both from the A3 user's role and that of the sponsor or mentor. ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
They could have covered the content just as well with half of the pages.
David Goade
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Illustrates the magic of the A3 process like no other book I've read -- drawing solutions out of people rather than trying to be the one with all the answers. ...more
Ruth Wendt
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Had to read this for work but enjoyed learning the A3 process.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
An short 62 page slide deck on A3 method. It give a clear overview of the A3 method but there is only one example.
Rashad Austin
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good story about creating and managing A3 processes
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The back a forth style this is written in takes some adjusting but definitely a worthy read if you're writing A3s. ...more
Cuong Hoang
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work
Great book, loved the clear narrative that ran through with a constantly updating example.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really interesting way of telling a story. It manages to both be engaging and educational at the same time.
Damon Lively
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think this is an important book / read for those who are involved in A3 (LEAN) based problem solving – or even if you want to begin to understand the principles (although some may disagree with that premise). The book is based on porter / sanderson relationship (upper management to mid management relationship and skill development for coaching A3) – but I believe some beginners may find helpful information. Whether that is approach to problems solving and the continued probing for “truth” or s ...more
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it

Good overview of Toyota's lean manufacturing approach. Best quotes, "...articulating the right theme will force you to describe the real problem..." p. 17; " A3 isn't just a collection of facts and data. It should tell a story, a problem-solving story. It should bring facts and data to life, and point toward a way to a better future state." p. 38; "'Consensus' or agreement did not mean that everyone had equal voice in every instance, or that every stakeholder would do it the sa
Christophe Addinquy
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: agile
Maybe I should read this book a second time ? I have to admit it, I was somehow disappointed. This book was recommanded to me by a colleague as an introduction to the A3 problem solving. The text is articulated around a story telling. Actually a 2 level storytelling, and this is one of the weakness of the book, because it makes the whole thing harder to grasp. The narrative is anyway not that easy to follow, the author doesn't take the time to settle down gently the material.
The book isn't a com
Randy Watkins
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Author, John Shook, takes the reader/learner on an A3 journey using two fictitious characters, Porter, the new A3 user, and Sanderson, the A3 mentor. Sanderson mentors Porter through a complete A3 (PDCA) cycle of process improvement diving deep into the foundation of Toyota A3 Thinking. This is not a book about how to fill out an A3 form, it is a book about scientific, logical, root-cause analysis, countermeasure development, consensus building, storytelling, effective coaching, and management w ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ever since Toyota invented the lean manufacturing process the world of the car industry has changed. One of the tools of analysis that lean is using is also the a3 process. Based on the simple a3 paper size a whole process and mindset of continuous improvement has evolved.
This is a book about learning to investigate question and understand how to create countermeasures to real problems. Narrated as a dialogue between an apprentice and his mentor it is as interesting as management books can be.
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a3
This book is cited by Liker and Convis in "... Lean Leadership."

In chapter 3 the authors explain how Gary Convis was influenced by Mr Fumitaka Ito, who came from a finance role in Toyota Japan.

Following Ito's at NUMMI in America Convis learned to create development opportinities for engineers, by having them learn to present A3 reports as part of solving problems and learning to understand the value of 'go and see' (genchi genbutsu), a key principle of the Toyota Production System.
Agile Kindergarten
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
A Lean Institute text, this book tells the day to day story of understanding the problem from both the manager's and employee's perspective. The unique format works and is a quick read. "A3" is about understanding the problem from direct observation of the "as is" environment and to getting it sufficiently outlined on one page before anything else is done to address the situation. ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. I appreciate being shown how to methodically, logically and objectively work through problems and situations to brainstorm solutions and resolutions. I look forward to reading more materials by John Shook. Plans are things that change!
Alex Fürstenau
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting way of thinking. I struggled with the way of reading first. Once I got used to reading as the new manager first and immediately after this, as the superior it was very interesting. I will try that in my company soon.
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
excellent book for a methodolgy of solving problems.
Ben Royal
Oct 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The best presentation I have seen about the Toyota A3 process.
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