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Managing to Learn

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Managing to Learn

Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor and Lead

Lean Enterprise Institute,

15 min. de leitura
10 Ideias Fundamentais
Áudio & Texto

Sobre o que é?

Learn and impose the A3 management process to solve hard-to-tackle problems.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Well Structured


Toyota insider John Shook invites you to be a detective, artist and business analyst with this crisp text that unfolds A3 management thinking in an illustrated narrative. Whether you regard A3 as a process, a methodology or simply the creative use of a large piece of paper, Shook pulls you into rigorous problem solving. This serious process that helps many companies shine in manufacturing excellence lets you, in part, feel like a five-year-old again as you dig deeper and keep asking “Why? Why? Why?” until you hit the “root cause” of your business problem. getAbstract recommends Shook’s easily applied (if you think about your results as you work through it) manual to all engineers, managers, mentors and total quality coaches seeking to understand problem solving through a lean-manufacturing lens.


“What Is an A3?”

Consider a piece of paper 11 inches long and 17 inches wide – this is the international paper size known as A3. When lean companies like Toyota discuss A3s, they mean using an A3 sheet of paper as a tool to help them work through concrete manufacturing issues. The A3 management approach utilizes this larger-size paper format to standardize how a company innovates, plans and solves problems. An A3 is a piece of paper, a methodology and a process – all at the same time.

The idea behind an A3 problem-solving process is that you can capture whatever difficulty you face in business on a single piece of paper. You can then discuss it with others as a shared problem, find a solution together, implement that solution and evaluate your success. Every A3 process follows a specific structure made up of these essential components:

  • “Title” – How can you best label the problem at hand?
  • “Background” – What is the problem’s context?
  • “Current conditions” – What do you already know about the problem?
  • “Goals” and “targets” – What outcomes do you strive for?
  • “Analysis” – What led to the problem...

About the Author

An industrial anthropologist who focuses on lean production principles, John Shook is a former manager at Toyota.

Comment on this summary

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    D. B. 9 months ago
    Very Good
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    E. l. 3 years ago
    Thanks very useful
  • Avatar
    D. P. 4 years ago
    This book and the A3 principles are complete nonsense. Real leadership requires leaders to chart the course, drive action, and take responsibility for the success or failure of operations. Shook's nonsense advocates a framework that allows managers to not do any fucking work and avoid taking personal responsibility. This book describes perfectly why nobody respects middle management and why "middle management" is a meme and "middle manager" has its own urban dictionary definition. I also cannot stand this obsession with appropriating Japanese terms because it seems "cool". Last I checked, we won WWII and Toyota's market cap is only 166B.

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