Kaizen and Kaikaku

We must think of Scrum amd Kanban not only as frameworks for producing product, but also for constantly imporving the team’s processes and skills.

Teams must continually relentless improve. Improvement is everyone’s job!

Kaizen (改善) is the Japanese word for good change, often translated as improvement. In business kaizen refers to continuously improve all functions and involve all teams and leadership. It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, and banking.

Kaizen is a daily process that goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that, when done correctly, that teaches people how to perform experiments on their work to spot and eliminate waste in business processes.

It is a Japanese workplace tradition that upon noticing a personal or team shortcoming, the team does hansei: that is, they take a posture of individual or collective regret for the shortfall.

There is a Toyota saying that “there is no kaizen without hansei.” So you would usually approach kaizen not with celebration and slogans, but with humility and resolve.

The term kaizen usually implies incremental improvement. It is necessary to occasionally take to greater risk and making a larger change, kaikaku 改革, which is translated as reform or innovation.

The British bicycling team (Team Sky) popularized marginal gains in 2003, showing that many tiny improvements in bike design and training add up. Marginal gains are overhyped but they deserve consideration.

Start today! Look for what you can experiment with as an individual and as part of a team or group of teams!

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