Kaizen is continuous improvement of people, processes and systems. Continuous in the sense that everyone has a mindset of **always** trying to get better — kaizen is neither a one-off or infrequently scheduled event nor a sprint tacked on right before a software or product release. Neither is it a project management approach. It is, however, a scientific method that uses the PDCA/PDSA experiment cycle and builds people’s capability of spotting and eliminating waste and solving problems. It is also a philosophy and a way of being — recognizing that there is always room for improvement and that everyone in the organization can contribute to improvement.
Gemba Academy’s “Ten Commandments of Continuous Improvement” summarize the philosophy well.
The 10 Commandments To Continuous Improvement are:
1. Open your mind to change
2. Think “Yes we can, if…”
3. Always attack the processes, not people
4. Seek simple solutions
5. If it’s broken stop and fix it
6. Use creativity, not capital (Use your wits not your wallet)
7. Problems are opportunities in disguise; welcome them as gifts
8. Fix the root cause: ask “why” five times (instead of who)
9. The wisdom of many is better than the knowledge of one
10. There is no final destination on the improvement journey
Remember, Kaizen is small gains that add up over time. 1% improvements in things you do may not seem like much now, but the cumulative gains build-up over time.