Leader Standard Work – PDCA

Updating my LSW – reviewing November for lessons learned and applying PDCA to December’s LSW plan

Download a copy of the Excel template used in this post by clicking the link below


Leader Standard Work is a leaders visual management system much like a DMS board, Kamishibai, or other lean visual control. The intent is to regularly review (monthly in my case) for opportunities for process improvements (reds) and apply those improvements to the next cycle. Visual Leader Standard Work will reveal two types of gaps: performance and process.

Performance gaps are simple – “was the task completed?” Performance gaps require deeper learning and analysis. In this post it will be assumed that there are no performance gaps to address – only process gaps.

The Review

The image below is of my LSW for November.

The art of using LSW as an improvement tool is to be able to read the sheet with your “process” eyes. What this means is not to focus on reds and ask “why didn’t they get done?” What you are looking for as a lean leader are process gaps.

Each behavior or activity of a leader in a lean management system is to sustain process improvements where that same process stability will provide the foundation for further improvements. The focus is on process.

Assuming that there are no performance gaps (the activity was completed as planned) we can move to what constitutes process gaps. Reds will indicate one of two possibilities.

  1. The behavior or activity (audit, Gemba, etc.) is not able to sustain the process. You are unable to really “see” the process in order to measure the expected state verses the current state.
  2. The process is not adequate to sustain the improvement. In this case a red means that you are able to clearly see the expected state and current state but something is not working right – there is a gap, a problem, or a variation.

Lessons Learned

After review it is time to see what you can learn about the process. Analyze the patterns.

In the example above I saw groupings around a particular time of day for attending Tier 1 DMS meetings. The conflict that created the reds were clear and recorded on the paper version that I carry daily. Each one that is missed was due to overlapping requirements at other DMS meetings. It had nothing to do with performance and everything to do with the fact that one cannot be in two places at the same time.

Planned Improvements

The lessons learned from reviewing November’s LSW were used to create December’s.

  1. Space for attendance at the conflicting Tier 1 DMS meetings was created
  2. Communication for Tier 3 DMS attendance plan was provided and aligned to with my manager
  3. Activities planned for early mornings where Tier 1 DMS meetings happen are now planned for later in the day.


It’s December 1st. Tomorrow is Monday, December 2nd. Is your LSW reviewed and updated? Have you made a plan to sustain the lean improvements?

Take a few moments and reflect on what learned from last month adn make an improvement to be a better lean manager for December

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