How it works

To get started with the thin-slice technique, it's generally a good idea to follow the first step in the Improvement Kata and “understand the direction”. This will ensure that each thin-slice you create is in alignment with the bigger picture goals of the organization. A good way to understand the direction and see the big picture is to render your organization's executive vision, business strategy and future state goals in a simple Lean Value Tree.

Through this visualization technique, it may be easier to spot opportunities to use thin-slicing in a way that ladders up to the big picture.

If you are able to successfully identify an opportunity to thin-slice, the next step in the Improvement Kata would be to “grasp the current condition”. An example of how to do this is to map the customer experience, and then, as shown in Figure T below, use value stream mapping to gather data about the current condition.

Once the current condition is understood, the next step in the Improvement Kata would be to establish the next target condition. For coalitions and pods, this means defining a small measurable goal or “step” that they can work toward that will help reduce uncertainty about the path forward, and increase their overall knowledge and capabilities.

Finally, the last step would be to experiment toward the target condition using the Plan-Do-Check-Act model described earlier in step three of this chapter.

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