Using Kata to drive continuous improvement in your personal life, team and organization
While retrospectives are amazing, imagine if you could make continuous improvement happen every single day. Imagine being able to drive meaningful improvements in your organization that not only improve performance, but also transforms your culture.
In this workshop, you'll learn techniques for running continuous improvement micro-experiments. These are short, fast test and learn loops that give you feedback in hours or days. You can use these techniques for personal improvement, and you can use them at the team and organizational level. These techniques are universally applicable. We've been using them with executives at Fortune 100 companies, in the public sector as well as with teams and individuals at every level in those organizations. We've also been using them also with public sector organizations with the same positive impact.
This is not your average retrospective. It's akin to compound interest. A little improvement every day that at first feels invisible, but over weeks and months, the improvements you implement begin to multiply into visible, tangible outcomes that help you propel yourself and your team into a state of high performance.
Outline/Structure of the Workshop
Introduction and backdrop for continuous improvement. We will define continuous improvement in the context of experimentation and lay out the case for how biases are often the cause for derailing your efforts. 10 minutes
A continuous improvement framework is introduced with it's key components which includes exercises at each step. This will include some real-life examples from experiences with other organizations, and my personal examples. The following steps help to populate an improvement canvas that the table teams will do as a group. 30 minutes total
- The overarching moonshot or aspirational goal - this helps individuals and teams align on the direction they want to improve - Table team exercise - define your aspirational goal that fits within a 1-3 year timeframe (e.g. I want to be able to personally reduce the amount of time I spend in meetings and other non-productive activities by 30% in 12 months. Our challenge is to increase our team's delivery throughput by a factor of 2 in 24 months.)
- Current state understanding - knowing where you are and your current constraints - Table team exercise - Assess your current condition including constraints and opportunities
- Measurable "next-step" improvement goals - this defines the next noticeable improvement you want to observe in the one to three month time frame - Table team exercise - Use a template
- Constraints - identify the things that are preventing you from achieving the measurable next step, captured in specific and measurable terms and order those constraints ( between on and three constraints for the purposes of the workshop) - Table team exercise - develop your constraints and capture them on the canvas
With these elements framed, we will move into micro-experiment design that individuals and teams can run on themselves or in their work environment. We begin with a few experiments from my own experience we will use as scenarios to learn how to develop and execute experiments. 10 mins
Now we transition to a cycle of interactive learning and experiment design:
- Describe how to define a micro-experiment which includes hypothesis development and expected outcomes - Table team exercise - design an experiment and share back with the room to get feedback and refine - depending on time we may be able to get through two cycles of experiment design - 15 mins
The coach-learner dynamic and the five coaching questions is covered next. Working in pairs in your organization makes the process more resilient, and as a team leader or coach for your team, understanding what questions to ask and how will make a positive impact on driving to the right outcomes. We will cover the five coaching questions and the process for making experimentation part of your daily routine, integrated with your day to day work, as opposed to treating this as a standalone activity. 15 mins
Summary and close with Q&A - 10 mins
You'll walk away with a simple, effective toolkit that will help you and your team get into a cycle of accelerated continuous improvement.
If you're keen to learn techniques for driving continuous improvement outside of traditional retrospectives, this workshop is for you!
Prerequisites for Attendees
- Bring your challenges and backlog of improvement ideas so that we can work directly on what's important to you.