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Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results

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"How any organization in any industry can progress from old-fashioned management by results to a strikingly different and better way."--James P. Womack, Chairman and Founder, Lean Enterprise Institute. This game-changing book puts you behind the curtain of Toyota, providing new insight into the legendary automaker's management practices and offering practical guidance for leading and developing people in a way that makes the best use of their brainpower. Drawing on six years of research into Toyota's employee-management routines, Toyota Kata examines and elucidates, for the first time, the company's organizational routines--called kata--that power its success with continuous improvement and adaptation. The book also reaches beyond Toyota to explain issues of human behavior in organizations and provide specific answers to questions such as: How can we make improvement and adaptation part of everyday work throughout the organization? How can we develop and utilize the capability of everyone in the organization to repeatedly work toward and achieve new levels of performance? How can we give an organization the power to handle dynamic, unpredictable situations and keep satisfying customers? Mike Rother explains how to improve our prevailing management approach through the use of two kata: Improvement Kata--a repeating routine of establishing challenging target conditions, working step-by-step through obstacles, and always learning from the problems we encounter; and Coaching Kata: a pattern of teaching the improvement kata to employees at every level to ensure it motivates their ways of thinking and acting. With clear detail, an abundance of practical examples, and a cohesive explanation from start to finish, Toyota Kata gives executives and managers at any level actionable routines of thought and behavior that produce superior results and sustained competitive advantage.

306 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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Mike Rother

16 books49 followers

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Profile Image for Yuval Yeret.
13 reviews42 followers
August 3, 2016
Followers of the blog might recall an early new year resolution to get more value from I read. Well the new year is with us, but this post is about returning debt from 2011. Toyota Kata is MY 2011 book of the year. It started me on a lot of thinking streaks and opened a lot of threads for how to effectively do my job as a Lean/Agile consultant. I have to say that many threads are still open. But I recently reread some sections of the book, and it’s about time to talk about it a bit, especially since I keep recommending it to people.

What is the Toyota Kata?
If you haven’t heard of the Toyota Kata book, you can head over to Mike Rother’s Toyota Kata Homepage where you can find good presentations about the key topics as well as a good synopsis of the book, which I won’t repeat here. At a very very high level this book is about the Toyota approach to management – which is to have a focused approach to improvement (The Improvement Kata) and a focused approach to teaching people how to focus on improvement (The Coaching Kata).

As a practitioner of Agile and Kanban in software/product development environments, I love this focus on what REALLY makes Toyota tick. There’s certainly a lot of bad mouthing of Lean and Toyota’s approach to production out there, calling it tool-focused and mechanistic/unfocused. The Kata is book is very aligned with our view of Lean as Kanban practitioners – the key being the thinking about improvement rather than the actual tools.

Let me try to review it by trying to apply it to the context of a Kanban team.

The Improvement Kata
The Kata starts with understanding the direction. Let’s say we bought the Kanban / Lean Startup cool-aid and are aiming at the direction of faster end to end feedback and effectiveness through having dramatically shorter Cycle Times.

Then we grasp the current condition. This is similar to the “Visualize the work” step in Kanban.

Establish the Next Target Condition can mean – ok now that we understand our mean cycle time is 8 weeks and it is unstable – ranging 4-12 weeks and the direction is towards a stable cycle time of days not weeks, lets aim at stable 8 weeks meaning to reduce the variability from 4 weeks in each direction to 1 week in each direction. Sounds like a reasonable next target condition to me.

Now we try to make that happen and encounter obstacles. We would need to overcome them.

The Improvement Kata talks about a daily cycle of looking at the current actual condition, in light of the current target condition, understanding the obstacles explaining the gaps between the actual and the target, and urging us to choose one of the obstacles and work to address it in small experimentation steps using the PDCA cycle (Plan Do Check Act). On top of this approach sits the Coaching Kata with Five Questions that are aimed at coaching people on using the Improvement Kata. The aim is for managers to coach their people in their improvement work.

The Five Toyota Kata Questions - Mike Rother
This is great stuff. Really great. The key point here is the focus on the job of people to always improve in a focused way, and the job of management to work on improvement themselves but also work to improve the improvement capabilities of their people. Use this as a repeating building block, tie it to the value system
and objectives of people throughout the organization and you stand a real chance for improvement work to become part of your DNA.

I’m just not clear on how to implement this in Product Development/Knowledge Work. Our processing cycles are orders of magnitude slower than in production. Which means we either do coaching/improvement cycles without the ability to see samples of finished work – which invalidates the scientific nature of the experimentation cycles, or we have to suffice with much slower improvement cycles, which makes improvement part of the outer-loop cadence (e.g. retrospectives, operation reviews) rather than the inner-loop cadence (e.g. Daily Syncs). Which is a real shame because it seems Mike associates a lot of the power of the Kata with the fact it is done very often.

At the moment I’m planning to use the Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata for outer-loop cadence, but am still trying to find a way to run it for the inner-loop. If you have some idea or experience with this, help me out…

A possible direction is to do the improvement/coaching kata for local internal processes e.g. Dev/Test in the inner-loop. If a developer is using TDD then we can apply the Kata for his TDD cycles. For a tester we can do it for his exploratory testing sessions or for his test cases.

Having a reason to avoid relaxing processes
Toyota plant manager would likely say something like this to the assembly manager: “You are correct that the extra paperwork and first-piece inspection requirements are obstacles to achieving a smaller lot size. Thank you for pointing that out. However, the fact that we want to reduce lot sizes is not optional nor open for discussion, because it moves us closer to our vision of a one-by-one flow. Rather than losing time discussing whether or not we should reduce the lot size, please turn your attention to those two obstacles standing in the way of our progress. Please go observe the current paperwork and inspection processes and report back what you learn. After that I will ask you to make a proposal for how we can move to a one day lot size without increasing our cost.”

Think about the scrum team talking about the overhead of weekly sprints and asking to use longer 2-week or 3-week sprints. Or the kanban team complaining about low WIP limits. Or testers complaining about the overhead of Small Batches. I love this quote highlighting the use of a vision to act as a decision filter for such policy discussions. We are using 1-week sprints because it is bringing us closer to cycle times measured in days. We are using low WIP / small batches thru testing for the same reason. Now instead of trying to revert to longer sprints/higher WIP/larger batches, let’s observe what are the overheads that make sprints/WIP/small batches painful and let’s see a proposal for how we can be more effective using them. I actually started to use this approach in the last couple of months. An exercise I frequently run in management workshops is trying to think what would enforcing a WIP limit entail for an organization. What would be the obstacles. It helps with change management to have a chance to vent some obstacles and understand how other companies deal with them and how this group can deal with them, even without starting to actually enforce a WIP limit.

The important point is that without the overarching direction / north star, it is hard to remember the rationale for many of the lean/agile practices/tools. If we don’t remember we believe shorter cycles lead to faster feedback leading to higher efficiency, it is easy to fall into the trap of regression to easier more comfortable ways of the past.

Ability to work according to Sequence is an indication of maturity
Sequence attainment is a tighter process metric, which means if the assembly process has to deviate from the intended leveling sequence, then even if shipments are still made on time, you do not have sequence attainment for that day

In product development this is similar to pulling cards out of order from your input queue / Product Backlog. Skipping cards in the backlog is a good indication of a capability problem. A target condition can be “we always pull from the top of our input queue/backlog so that we achieve alignment with the value priorities of the business”. A typical obstacle for this target condition is a sparse skills/talent matrix. And a next step can be knowledge transfer or training.

The difference between a Target Condition and a Target
The Improvement Kata talks about setting Target Conditions, which are Process Conditions, which in turn enable reaching a Target Bottom Line result. It says that having outcome targets is important, but the means for getting to those outcomes should be the real focus of management work. This is quite different from how many managers see the world, especially in the era of Management By Objectives. We have a lot of work to do to teach managers to think about managing by Means in order to reach Outcomes.

For example Sprint Velocity is important, but more important is managing the means towards improving the velocity. So discuss the target condition you need in order to have a high velocity and manage the obstacles towards that. It can be “READY” policies, smaller stories, healthy Continuous Integration system, TDD or whatever you feel enables a higher velocity.

Vague Target Conditions
It is important to understand that specifying a target condition doesn’t mean we define the solution up front. We define the required condition up front, and let the solution emerge through experimentation cycles. We do have a desired behavior of the process we are improving at the black box level and we tweak the process towards the required behavior through probe-sense-respond cycles as defined in Cynefin for example. Bottom line in my understanding the Toyota Improvement Kata is compatible with Complexity Thinking.

be hard on the process – be soft on the operators
What a great quote to start a retrospective with…
It means that if there are problems most chances are they are process related. The process needs to help people succeed. (individual and interactions over processes and tools?)
It is similar to deming saying 95% of what affects performance is the system. Rest 5% is people.
Or five whys striving to policy/system impediments/obstacles underlying people errors.
My view is that the role of people is to adapt the system/process so they affect more than 5% at the end of the day. That is the importance of the improvement kata and continuous improvement in general

there are currently no autonomous, self-directed teams at toyota
Actually, Toyota even considers expecting people to autonomously own improvements “Disrespectful of People”. While operators and teams do participate in voluntary improvement activities, improvement is part of the job function of team leaders, supervisors/managers and engineers.

Applied to our typical agile team, what this would mean is that the main ownership for improvement lies in the hands of leaders/managers rather than the teams/engineers. Certainly interesting thinking. I do agree that managers/leaders need to lead the improvement efforts. I do think that using fair process and involving team members makes more sense in knowledge work environments such as product development.

Mike does talk about operators participating in improvement work – but mainly as improving their understanding of Kaizen and to help understand whether they are candidates for promotion.

A good take away is to let someone tackle a tough process/obstacle to consider whether they are ready for promotion. Maybe a better alternative than let them own a certain delivery objective?

To develop your own capability, the effort will have to be internally led, from the top. If the top does not change behavior and lead, then the organization will not change either
Managers should lead the improvement effort. Loud and clear… This actually means running improvement kata at a process and coaching their people in their improvement katas. Not a trivial request from managers. Think about the VP R&D overseeing the improvement kata at a testing process or coaching his Director of QA in his improvement kata for an automation challenge. Part of this problem is a Catch-22. In order for the organization to know how to do this they need to try it hands on. In order to have internal leadership managers need to try it first.

Part of the approach Mike suggests is having an Advance Team experimenting with the improvement kata hands on, before rolling it out throughout the organization. I actually like the implications, at least in theory. As a Kanban example, have senior leadership involved in using Kanban to improve a process, so they are proficient enough in the improvement process and its effects when Kanban becomes an improvement approach used more and more within the organization. How can we ask them to coach their people otherwise… This certainly helps with stickiness of the change/improvement effort, although it might slow it down or even block it from taking off in the first place in places which are not ready for it (That is a “Fail Fast” scenario which is probably preferable. We’ve all seen the stalled change initiative – it’s not a pretty picture, not for the organization and neither for the consultants)

coach only one target condition at a time, which generally means one mentee at a time
We typically use forums to coach people towards improvement. Mike’s recommendation to coach one on one is an interesting and challenging one. Need to think about it some more.

(1) a restatement of the overall theme (for example, “to develop improvement kata behavior in the organization”), and (2) a reiteration of “why we experiment,”
Another great quote to start a retrospective with… the current focus of improvement and the reason for experimentation, to facilitate open healthy focused retrospection.

I hope I sparked your interest in this great book. There is still lots of work to be done mapping the Improvement/Coaching Katas to Knowledge Work, but even at raw unmapped form there are great insights in this book. Highly Recommended.

One last note – if you are interested in this topic, you will probably find Henrik Kniberg’s Tokyo Scrum Gathering Keynote about Change interesting as well…
112 reviews14 followers
November 8, 2015
This is a very interesting book! What I find particularly interesting is the view that an organization’s processes and practices are an outcome of people’s thinking and behavior. The traditional view is that you can control human behavior by defining the processes and then force people to follow them. There is a nicer word for this, it’s called process discipline.

So, if processes are an outcome, then how do you influence people’s behavior? How do you accomplish the continuous improvements, adaptiveness, and superior performance? The answer is through katas. In Japan, a ”kata” is a way of thinking and conducting oneself. The book describes two katas, an improvement kata and a coaching kata.

The key point is that if you want to understand Toyota and emulate its success, then these katas should be implemented, not the company’s processes or techniques. The competitive advantage of a company doesn’t lie in the processes themselves but in the ability of the company to understand the current situation and create fitting, smart solutions.

There is one area where I disagree with the author and it is in his view of self-organization. My view is that self-organization is an excellent way of putting our capability for improvement, resourcefulness, and creativity to use. The view held by the author might be valid in a manufacturing environment, but I don’t think it is valid in general. Also, I would like to stress, as the author does, that kata is a general concept applicable not only to manufacturing.
Profile Image for Jens Comiotto-Mayer.
16 reviews2 followers
September 3, 2019
This is an important book that has two main takeaways for me that hold valid also in non-manufacturing contexts: 1) »It is generally not possible simply to maintain a level of process performance. A process will tend to erode no matter what, even if a standard is defined, explained to everyone, and posted. […] Any organized process naturally tends to decline to a chaotic state if we leave it alone. […] A process is either slipping back or being improved.« 2) And more importantly: The Toyota (Coaching) Kata and its underlying conceptions itself, especially in contradiction to the classical "Action-Item List" approach ("What can we do?" vs. a more focused "What do we need to do?"), which is hard to explain in just a few words – and the reason why you should read this book. It made me think a lot about how we use systems and processes like Kanban or Scrum in our different contexts, about the power of "go and see" over well established reporting lines, and how far we usually are from really challenging the current conditions to adapt and improve.

So why only 4 stars? This book is tailored to a manufacturing world, which means you have to translate a lot of what has been said for your environment that might fundamentally differ, where variety isn't always necessarily a bad thing and work much more non-repetitive at its core. But if you recognize the essence of the Toyota Kata, you will find insights and new perspectives that cannot be over-estimated.
Profile Image for Mike Arvela.
165 reviews12 followers
December 19, 2012
Contains a few gems and some good general advice, but would have benefited from ruthless editing: the book contains a lot of nonsense figures and many of the points are repeated 3-5 times. At times it felt like reading an academic article that contains filler phrases just because a certain page count had to be met. Nothing in this book that wouldn't have fit into a third of its length!
Profile Image for Sicofonia.
284 reviews
July 12, 2020
Toyota Kata is an essential read for anyone who manages or leads a team. Inspired by the Toyota's management ethos, it teaches us that in order to build a long lasting organization that continuously adapts and improves leaders should focus on fostering an experimentation capability from within.
The way Toyota achieves this is by using the scientific method, what this books refers to as the Improvement Kata. The second important element is what Deming referred to Managers as teachers. It is that management behaviour that Toyota's management has internalized; and teaching the scientific method occupies a good chunk of their time. It is this second pillar, that Rother refers to as the Coaching Kata.

So the recipe for creating an ever flourishing company(to paraphrase Goldratt) is on the surface a simple one. Use the scientific method as the mean to build in adaptation and flexibility, and have experienced managers to teach it downstream in the organization.

The book is naturally oriented to manufacturing settings, but readers coming from knowledge work industries will find it immensely valuable indeed.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Veta Armonaite.
16 reviews3 followers
June 20, 2021
Interesting book on 2 main katas - improvement and coaching - on which Toyota has built their culture. Many great practical advices that can be tested but the book has a lot og technical manufacturing examples that are difficult to understand or relate to.
Profile Image for David McClendon, Sr.
Author 1 book14 followers
December 11, 2011
Toyota Kata is about how Toyota has been able to maintain the lead over most manufacturers in the world. The term “Kata” can be defined as the Japanese word for a detailed, choreographed group of patterns that are repeated over and over as a system. In redneck terms it would be “You always do it like this.”

The author, Mike Rother, spent over six years studying how Toyota does things. One thing that he sought to find out is why, if other companies copy Toyota step for step, they can’t excel where Toyota does. The final finding seems to be that Toyota is built to adapt. The way Toyota does something today may or may not be the way it does that same thing tomorrow.

Another thing that is pointed out in this book is that Toyota spends a great deal of effort studying a problem before it acts on that problem. They determine what appears to be the biggest problem and then study that some more. In the long run more planning is done, then things are changed one step at a time. Once that step is completed, the results are studied and Toyota learns from that before it goes forward. The basic idea being that it is easy to determine exactly what works if only one thing at a time is changed.

The book is sort of a slow read. There are a lot of details and a lot of things are repeated. In the long run, it is a book that anyone seeking to improve an organization might be better off having read.

Book Review Policy
My policy on book reviews is to give you my honest opinion of the book. From time to time publishers will give me a copy of their book for free for the purpose of me reading the book and writing a review. The publishers understand when they give me the book that I am under no obligation to write a positive review.

If you will look at all my reviews you will see that there have been occasions when I have written a negative review after having been given a book.

I often provide links to books on Amazon.com where you can purchase books and help support the continued operation of this blog. However, I strongly encourage you to check out your local library. Many libraries now offer electronic borrowing for free.

I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
I obtained this book through the Wharton County Library. whartonco.lib.tx.us
20 reviews
May 8, 2017
Mike Rother expertly explains why we struggle with lean, why we need to focus our efforts away from various lean tools, and why we need to focus our efforts, instead, towards changing the culture.

Toyota Kata explores two types of routine dialogues used in every problem solving activity within Toyota; here he calls them katas however, for Toyota, it's just the way of doing business. The improvement kata offers an extremely simple, focused framework for improvement that you can apply to just about any problem. The coaching kata is used as a framework for colleague development, enabling a protege to build up their problem solving skills safely under the wing of an experienced mentor.

I gave it 3 stars because, while the content of the book is simple, digestible, and valuable, I don't feel it offers enough insight for the worst struggles that we face day to day in manufacturing. I understand that every manufacturing nightmare scenario is unique and that this book does teach us how to navigate the "unknown", but I feel a couple more case studies would go a long way.
Profile Image for Vergiliu.
14 reviews1 follower
January 26, 2015
I had a "slow start" when reading this book, but I find it pretty interesting if one would consider software (or more generic the entire IT spectrum) the point of view of looking at the issues and how to solve them.
The book, as the name implies, is focussed on the Toyota manufacturing process, but its ideas and best-practices can be applied to mostly everything. I think this is a great book considering how to approach improvements in daily work routine, especially if we ignore its strong focus on the "Toyota way of manufacturing".
Profile Image for Mike.
10 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2017
Best book I have read on building a continuous improvement culture. I think I've been doing it wrong.
25 reviews4 followers
August 22, 2015
A novel way of diving deeper into the improvement of business processes by viewing continuous improvement as the cultivation of daily habits.
Profile Image for Mehrdad.
8 reviews48 followers
April 28, 2020

تویوتا کاتا یک کتاب مدیریتی است که توسط مایک روتر تهیه شده است. در حال حاضر در خط تولید تویوتا از روش کاتا که سبب بهبود مستمر فرایند ها است استفاده میکنند.

کتاب درباره این موضوع هستش که چطور هر سازمانی در هر صنعتی می تواند روال های مدیریت سنتی خود را کنار گذاشته، و نتایج به مراتب متفاوت تر و بهتری به دست آورد.

این کتاب شما را با اتفاقی که در پشت پرده شرکت تیوتا افتاده است آشنا میکند و نتیجه شش سال تحقیق در کارهای روزمره مدیریت کارمندان تویوتا را بررسی و توضیح می دهد. تویوتا با ارائه این بینش جدید در شیوه های مدیریت افسانه ای خودروسازی و راهنمایی های عملی برای رشد افراد به روشی که بهترین استفاده را از توان مغزی خود کنند را ارائه میدهد.

برخلاف سایر رویکردهایی که سعی در پیش بینی مسیر و اجرا دارند، کاتا روی یافته هایی که در طول مسیر رخ می دهد تمرکز کرده است. تیم هایی که از کاتا استفاده می کنند یاد می گیرند که تلاش کنند تا به هدف برسند و بر اساس آنچه که یاد می گیرند خود را منطبق کنند.

کتاب تیوتا کاتا اظهار می کند که الگوی تفکر و رفتار-کاتا فراگیر است. نه تنها در تجارت بلکه در آموزش، سیاست، زندگی روزمره و غیره کاربرد دارد. پیام اصلی کتاب این است که وقتی مردم یک کاتا را برای نحوه ادامه کار از طریق قلمرو نامشخص تمرین می کنند و یاد می گیرند، نیازی به ترس از موانع، تغییرات و ناشناخته هایی که در طول مسیر با آنها مواجه می شوند ندارند. به جای تلاش برای حفظ یقین بر اساس دیدگاه شخصی، می توانند اعتماد به نفس را از طریق ��دم قطعیت به دست آورند.

چیزی که نویسنده در این کتاب مطرح میکند راه حلی که سبب رقابتی پایدار و بقای طولانی مدت را فراهم کند نیست، بلکه دستیابی سازمان به روالی مؤثر برای توسعه راه حل های مناسب به صورت مکرر در مسیرهای غیرقابل پیش بینی است. این امر مستلزم آموزش مهارت های خاصی است که در طول کتاب به آنها میپردازد.

برای نخستین بار ، روالهای سازمانی این شرکت - موسوم به کاتا - موفقیت خود را با پیشرفت و سازگاری مستمر continuous improvement به دست آورد.در بخش هایی از این کتاب همچنین به مواردی فراتر از تویوتا اشاره میکند تا مسائل مربوط به رفتارهای انسانی در سازمان ها را توضیح دهد و پاسخهای ویژه به سؤالاتی از قبیل:
-آیا می توانیم بخشی از کارهای روزمره را در سراسر سازمان بهبود و سازگار کنیم؟
-چگونه می توانیم توانایی همه را توسعه دهیم و از آن استفاده کنیم تا به طور مکرر به سطوح جدید از بهبود عملکرد برسیم؟
-چگونه می توانیم به سازمان قدرت تحمل شرایط پویا، غیرقابل پیش بینی و همچنین رضایت مشتری را حفظ کنیم؟

مایک روتر چگونگی بهبود روش مدیریت غالب ما را با استفاده از د�� کاتا توضیح می دهد:
۱-بهبود کاتا: روال تکراری برای ایجاد شرایط اهداف چالش برانگیز، کار گام به گام با وجود موانع و یادگیری پیوسته از مشکلاتی که با آنها روبرو می شویم. بهبود کاتا یک روال برای انتقال از وضعیت فعلی به یک وضعیت جدید به روشی خلاقانه، جهت دار و معنادار است.

این روال مبتنی بر یک مدل چهار بخشی است:
-با در نظر گرفتن یک دید یا جهت ...
-شرایط فعلی را درک کنید.
-شرایط مورد نظر بعدی را تعیین کنید.
-به طور پیوسته به سمت آن شرایط حرکت کنید، که این امر سبب کشف موانعی که باید روی آن کار کنید میشود.

۲-مربیگری کاتا: الگویی از آموزش "بهبود کاتا" که به کارمندان در هر سطح و همچنین اطمینان از ایجاد انگیزه در روش تفکر و عمل آنها کمک میکند. با جزئیات واضح ، نمونه های عملی فراوان و توضیحی منسجم از ابتدا تا انتها.
تویوتا کاتا به مدیران و مجریان در هر سطحی روال های عملی فکری و رفتاری که نتایج مطلوب تر و مزیت رقابتی پایدار ارائه میدهد.
Profile Image for Ramesh Ruthrasekar.
52 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2022
Best book that talks about creating "the right mindset" to promote continuous improvement behaviour in an organization.

4 step Kata: Grasp the current condition, Ensure a vision, fix your target condition and be prepared to face the obstacles

The biggest learning or the new thought in the book is way we see obstacles. E.g. implementing a kanban is easy, but why does it fail? Usually due to some process instability (read obstacle). With improvement Kata thinking your focus is to resolve the obstacles one by one with PDCA in hope of reaching a kanban in X amount of time (Recommended target condition time max 3 months) and not implement kanban and then face obstacles. Any attempt to introduce a pattern, the goal of it foremost is to "expose" the underlying problems. Only if we know them and remove one by one the target condition can be established.

This capability of an organization to experiment towards a target condition rather than churning out one solution after another is a key success factor i.e. the ability to slow down and observe, contrary to the expected fast food solution making.

In addition the role of a team leader and manager as coach/ buddy is a valid emphasis for the improvement routine to work.

A3 as documentation agreement between mentor and mentee, Value stream pacemaker stability in cycle time as starting point for improvement Kata are other useful insights

Similar to the league of "Creating a lean culture" and 4DX this book emphasises the aspect of "routine" and "influencing the process than results or influence the leads (target condition) to approach your vision (lag) or take care of the process and the process takes care of you (as in results)

"It is not kanban that generates improvement, it is the striving for target conditions via the routine of improvement Kata that characterises what we have been calling as Lean manufacturing"
Profile Image for Johan Dahlbäck.
74 reviews2 followers
February 27, 2020
The subject is not new to me and I have practiced both the improvement work and the attached coaching, but I felt it was really time to read the book.

What the book does well is that it clearly describes how complex processes behave and how the usual management tasks don't work and how to implement the Toyota Kata instead.

It was a real aha moment for me to understand how heijunka, 1 x 1 flow and kanban is used not as tool but as target conditions and ways to illuminate obstacles.

Some experiment descriptions are not complete, which is a little frustrating.

Also there are a few jumps between subjects and some things are duplicated without having to be.

There are more modern methods to use, that has their base in this thinking but still it is very useful to have this to draw inspiration from.
66 reviews
July 2, 2023
Lean Management demistified. Tyle narzędzi do szczupłego zarządzania pojawia się w tak wielu ksiażkach, że ciężko je zapamiętać. No tak, tyle że to tylko narzędzia a filozofia lean jest zupełnie gdzie indziej. To jest ciągłe poprawianie tam, gdzie coś nie działa albo chcemy, żeby działało lepiej. I to jest też kultura do precyzyjnego odszukania elementu jaki chcemy poprawić. Czyli ciągłe udoskonalenia pojedyńczych elementów oraz kultura uczenia się poprawiania tych elementów. O tym jest cała książka. Dodatkowo jest cały scenariusz jak coś takiego wdrożyć, jakby ktoś chciał w tą stronę poeksperymentować. Co wynieść z książki: może to, że wszelkich usprawnień szukamy w obszarze bezpośredniego przystosowania, dostarczania do klienta (obszar stymulatora).
Profile Image for Luke Gruber.
176 reviews5 followers
June 20, 2022
Lean Manufacturing has a very broad application. There are many tools out there (six sigma, 5S, kanban, push/pull, one piece flow... etc) that can be learned and applied. However, I really appreciate Rother's application of the Toyota Kata; the Toyota way of doing things. He avoids the tools, and looks at the essence of how Toyota came up with those tools. He focuses on their approach to problem solving and how they tackle situations. Lean manufacturing is simple in concept, but incredibly complex when trying to incorporate.

I love this book. I'd recommend it to anyone who has a job and cares about improving (yes, in any industry); but it's absolutely essential for those in manufacturing.
Profile Image for Melsene G.
708 reviews3 followers
June 29, 2017
This is a highly technical book but has great advice if you want to learn more about Toyota Kata, which is the process of continuous improvement and adaptation. Kata is a method of routines and patterns. Much of the material will be familiar to those with a background in Lean methods from TPS. This book delves into the weeds. There are lots of diagrams. Part 4 goes into coaching Kata and how to bring about cultural change. Experiment, learn from your failures, and keep after the target condition.
Profile Image for HH.
22 reviews17 followers
June 18, 2018
Es un libro enfocado en procesos de cambio Toyota Kata, en el mismo brinda principios, métodos, consejos, para su aplicación a nivel empresarial. Me llamó la atención que describe cambios a nivel de las personas, sus roles de aprendiz y mentor son muy buenos de rescatar.

Es un libro enfocado en procesos de cambio Toyota Kata, en el mismo brinda principios, métodos, consejos, para su aplicación a nivel empresarial. Me llamó la atención que describe cambios a nivel de las personas, sus roles de aprendiz y mentor son muy buenos de rescatar.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
127 reviews2 followers
September 6, 2018
Story of Toyota, interviews with Toyota's employees simply intriguing. Process they follow like 1x1 (Continuous flowing), Kanban, Value Stream mapping are interesting to learn. Also chapters like how mentors to mentor the mentee is interesting. One can learn the skill but not the art of doing, simple statement which gives Toyota's success. Another chapter like how imbibe Toyota's values in other companies or organization were interesting. Definitely readable book for Management and process related people.
Profile Image for Kevin.
291 reviews11 followers
March 21, 2020
Solid book with a lot of insights into Toyota's practices, processes, and philosophies that I only had a small knowledge of previously.

It seems like it would be valuable for those in manufacturing (especially Lean manufacturing).

The downside was that nearly all of the chapters seemed to talk about how Toyota gets it right, other companies get it wrong, and seemingly no examples of non-Toyota companies succeeding using similar approaches. Even so, I felt like I got a lot out of it, so maybe others will too.
322 reviews7 followers
March 27, 2022
Best management book I've read in a while. Many current books talk about mindset (particularly "growth" mindset) in a way that makes a lot of sense but rarely is more practical than "think positive and positive things will happen".

In this book, there's a good focus on how such a growth-oriented mindset (words that are never directly used) can be funneled into a methodological process for continuous improvement.

Even though it heavily focuses on car manufacturing with some examples of other factory processes almost everything is applicable to any company that builds a product.
4 reviews
January 5, 2019
When you get past the terminology and the tools what was lean all about in Toyota. Actually listened to this book twice via Audible. Very well laced and excellent examples. Processes are either getting better or getting worse. Chaos precludes standing still. To be effective need all relevant front line personnel looking to improve all processes all the time. And managers are there to support, encourage, create the bandwidth for front Minecraft to investigate and improve processes.
Profile Image for Antonio.
365 reviews9 followers
February 25, 2020
So this is my assessment of this book Ttoyota Kata by Mike Rother according to my 7 criteria:
1. Related to practice - 5 stars
2. It prevails important - 4 stars
3. I agree with the read - 5 stars
4. not difficult to read (as for non English native) - 5 stars
5. too long and boring story or every sentence is interesting - 3 stars
6. Learning opportunity - 5 stars
7. Dry and uninspired style of writing - Smooth style with humouristic and fun parts - 3 stars

Total 4.28 stars
3 reviews
January 18, 2022
I recommend reading this book after starting your Lean Six Sigma journey and a second time after putting these tools into practice for a little time.

This book is the most important thing I could’ve read. As someone that has seen Lean Six Sigma not contribute to success in my company, when it obviously is adding a lot of value for others out there, this book was a beacon of truth and light to understand WHY. This book digs into the distinction between non value added LSS and value added LSS.
Profile Image for Mike Thelen.
88 reviews5 followers
September 25, 2017
The thinking behind the system. These lessons were taught to me by my mentor years before the book was published, but that is what Rother does best - put to words the systems and thinking behind the production system. This is a great read for those who only know the tools and are missing the deeper understanding.
1 review
April 25, 2018
Gained a lot of unexpected insights from this book. Between the words, the illustrations help in understanding (a lot) as well as to keep the reader entertained.
Tools are indeed merely tools if they are not understood for their purpose of existence. This book is well structured and it allows the reader to read and think at the same time.
Profile Image for Shantanu.
8 reviews1 follower
October 5, 2018
This book is the best and effective way to learn the ideas behind the continuously improving Toyota organization and production system. I liked the focus on practical problem solving at each level of the organization and ways to boost the routine resulting into continuous improvement. Very well written with step by step guidance to initiate and drive improvements in any value stream.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
82 reviews11 followers
August 7, 2019
Seamless continuation of what I read last year: “focus on the system not goals” about creating habits in life. How to play life long game of continuous improvement and adaptation in organizations instead of periodic improvement projects? Creat behavior patterns and make them habits via improvement Kata and coaching Kata.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 101 reviews

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