Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Definitions

Glossary terms, history, people and definitions about Lean and Six Sigma

Toyota Kata

Kata is a Japanese word meaning “form” or routine. It is a detailed choreographed pattern of martial arts movements to be memorized through practice in order to perfect it.

In process improvement terms, it is called Toyota Kata. There are two main elements:

Improvement Kata is a 4-step process to apply and practice scientific thinking.

Coaching Kata is the process by which the coach teaches the student how to learn the Improvement Kata approach.

To facilitate the discussion, the coach asks the following 5 questions (5Q) to the student:

  1. What is the Target Condition?
  2. What is the Actual Condition?
    1. What did you plan as your Last Step (last countermeasure)?
    2. What did you Expect?
    3. What Actually Happened?
    4. What did you Learn?
  3. What Obstacles do you think are preventing you from reaching the target condition? Which ones are you addressing now?
  4. What is your Next Step (next experiment)? What do you expect?
  5. How quickly can we go and see what we Have Learned from taking that step?

This approach is repeated until the student can consistently answer the questions from the coach. Then they can practice becoming a coach to develop a student.

This approach is described in more depth in Toyota Kata, the book by Mike Rother, and on his Toyota Kata website.





lean six sigma certification and training