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Tag: Problem Solving

Error Proofing Against Drinking Bad Tap Water at #HIMSS13

Error Proofing Against Drinking Bad Tap Water at #HIMSS13

Here in New Orleans, there was a problem with the city water today and there’s a 24-hour “boil water” order in effect through tomorrow morning. We could play a good game of the 5 Whys: Why can’t we drink the water? It’s potentially unsafe Why? The water pressure dropped earlier this morning Why? Because there […]

Dilbert Challenges the Root Cause Problem Solving of His Boss

Dilbert Challenges the Root Cause Problem Solving of His Boss

Last Friday’s Dilbert touched on the important topic of problem solving and root cause analysis. Stand up meetings, or huddles, are a great practice and they are pretty common in the Lean methodology. I saw a really impressive daily stand up meeting last week at a Texas hospital (more about that to come in a […]

By February 20, 2013 2 Comments Read More →
Perfecting Patient Journeys and PDCA

Perfecting Patient Journeys and PDCA

Reminder: Please take my reader survey and enter to win some Lean prizes. My friends at LEI have a new book out by Judy Worth, Tom Shuker, and Beau Keyte: “Perfecting Patient Journeys.”  The book appears to focus on Lean problem solving processes, including value stream management… really important stuff. Chapter 1 (PDF) has a […]

By January 31, 2013 0 Comments Read More →
Guest Post – Words Matter: Why I Prefer PDSA over PDCA

Guest Post – Words Matter: Why I Prefer PDSA over PDCA

Mark’s note — today’s guest post is by my  friend Karen Martin, my guest for Podcast #151 where we talked about her latest book The Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence. Karen is the founder of Karen Martin & Associates and she is also the co-author of […]

By January 22, 2013 42 Comments Read More →
Some Videos from the 2012 #LeanStartup Conference

Some Videos from the 2012 #LeanStartup Conference

It’s awesome that Eric Ries puts the video content from The Lean Startup Conference online each year. He’s just uploaded some videos to his YouTube channel, with more to come (including video of my “Ignite” session talk on Lean Healthcare Design). Here is the playlist with all of the 2012 talks. It’s all worth checking […]

By December 19, 2012 1 Comments Read More →
The Newtown Tragedy – Our National Response and Problem Solving

The Newtown Tragedy – Our National Response and Problem Solving

As are many people across the United States and around the world, I’m saddened by the violence that claimed so many lives Friday in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The mass shootings that plague our country are incredibly upsetting. My friend Bob Emiliani created the graphic that’s shown at left, that represents our […]

By December 17, 2012 30 Comments Read More →
The “Gold Prize” Kaizen QC Project Saved How Much?

The “Gold Prize” Kaizen QC Project Saved How Much?

Yesterday, our tour group had a chance to visit an outstanding factory. They manufacture gas meters and they do everything from casting aluminum, creating printed circuit boards, stamping, painting, assembly – all in a single site. It reminded me a bit of old Henry Ford vertical integration from 100 years ago (which can be a […]

By November 16, 2012 2 Comments Read More →
10 Common Problem Solving Mistakes

10 Common Problem Solving Mistakes

I’ve been noodling around about writing an article about 10 common problem solving mistakes. Before fleshing it out, I thought I’d share the list here to get your reactions. In no particular order of importance (and without much explanation for now): About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” […]

A Hard Habit to Break

No, this isn’t a post about the the 80s Chicago tune “Hard Habit to Break.” It’s about individual habits related to problem solving that are hard to break. As Charles Kettering (the famed engineer of General Motors and the namesake for my dad’s alma mater, Kettering University, the former GMI) said: “A problem well stated […]

Funny: The Most Interesting Lean Thinker in the World

Funny: The Most Interesting Lean Thinker in the World

This is too good not to share. The team at a startup called Buffer  created a list of Lean Startup concepts in the guise of popular internet “memes.” If you don’t get many of the jokes — congratulations, you don’t spend too much time on the interwebs. But there’s one I think every Lean  practitioner […]

Weekend Fun: An Elegant Solution by Subtraction (Parks & Rec)

Weekend Fun: An Elegant Solution by Subtraction (Parks & Rec)

Our good friend Matt May (see posts and podcasts about him here) has a new book coming out in October,  The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules For Winning In The Age Of Excess Everything, a follow up to previous books including In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing. Knowing how […]

This Commercial is Not Exactly the “Five Whys”

If you’re watching college football bowls or the NFL playoffs, it’s hard not to see this commercial from DirecTV. It’s not exactly the reverse of the “5 Whys” (as popularized in Lean and the Lean Startup methods), but it made me laugh. After the video, I’ll show what the 5 whys would be (working backward […]

By January 7, 2012 0 Comments Read More →
What can Golf Cart do for you?

What can Golf Cart do for you?

Readers outside the U.S. might not know the UPS advertising slogan of “What Can Brown Do For You?” This often refers to the iconic brown trucks that deliver packages (and the brown uniforms of the employees). One of the challenges UPS faces is the busy holiday shipping season. As this article points out, they will […]

By December 22, 2011 3 Comments Read More →

The Need for Pilots (Not the flying kind) at the TSA?

My dad was flying back from Seattle last week and he noticed this at the TSA “gemba” in the airport, as he reported in an email: The [TSA] woman’s stamp kept falling of the stand. She said they just got new podiums, but the lip isn’t high enough. That’s got to be frustrating, having something […]

By November 7, 2011 0 Comments Read More →
“Lack of Time” for Kaizen is a Problem Statement, not an Excuse

“Lack of Time” for Kaizen is a Problem Statement, not an Excuse

As I’ve talked to and worked with hospitals and their leaders about Kaizen, or continuous improvement, the concepts, mindsets, and methods make sense to people. They understand how Kaizen is different than the outdated and ineffective suggestion box method. A common response is “Mark, that makes sense… but we just don’t have time….” I’d like […]

By September 30, 2011 12 Comments Read More →
Case Study: Standardization of Anesthesia Carts Across Multiple Sites

Case Study: Standardization of Anesthesia Carts Across Multiple Sites

Today’s post is a case study submitted by  Abdul N. Mansour,  Director Lean & Process Improvement at  Scottsdale (AZ) Healthcare. The material here and the PDF downloads are shared with his permission. This project is a noteworthy story in that they were able to gain agreement of the anesthesiologists and staff across five sites and […]

A Funny Sign to End the Week With

A Funny Sign to End the Week With

After a week of serious topics and sometimes pointed discussion, let’s end with a funny sign… well wait, there’s a serious story behind this sign too. This is a sign from a New Zealand hospital, sent via email by a blog reader who attended the debut of my “Warning: Signs!” talk at Cindy Jimmerson’s lean […]

A Great Poster in a Lean Hospital Lab – Asking Why

A Great Poster in a Lean Hospital Lab – Asking Why

As a student of Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s books and teachings, I’m not a big fan of slogans and posters in the workplace. Last week, visting a hospital laboratory to do research for my upcoming book  Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Improvements, I saw the following poster hanging over a metrics display board […]