Learning Together The Kata Practitioner Way


How much can you learn from other people’s experiences?  Do you have to try and fail and experiment and reflect on your own? The Kata Practitioner Day (KPD), held at Asco Aerospace in the Vancouver area September 22 2016, raised these questions, and others.

A Kata Practitioner Day is an informal event.  People who are learning Mike Rother’s Toyota Kata pattern duo, the Improvement Kata (IK) and the Coaching Kata (CK), get together to share their reflections and experiences.  We also tried to introduce the IK CK patterns to newbies, some well-prepared, a few coming in cold. Our aim, as organizers was to start a community of practice for learning, sharing, and support.

We experimented in organizing the agenda. Two presentations, a site tour, two hands-on exercises and frequent stops for reflection over 6 hours.   How did it go?  The feedback says it was “very good,” and the 20 participants are planning to get together again.  “The spirit of community” and the “open and honest sharing of experience” were mentioned by participants as things they liked, along with “the presentations and the simulations.”


One surprise, and the agenda

One surprise was the interest in joining our KPD from across Canada and from Washington State. If you are reading this and wondering how to get together with others who are learning IK and CK to get continuous improvement to work every day, you could have your own KPD and start a local network.  Lean Frontiers shares an example KPD agenda http://katasummit.com/kpd/

We shortened it to this and made space for a tour of the host company.

8:00 Intros and current condition of improvements and coaching..
8:30 Kata intro hands–on exercise
9:30 Tour  (must BYO safety shoes to join the tour)
10:45 Asco’s Improvement Kata (IK) and Coaching Kata (CK) experience
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Another perspective—IK and CK experience at BD Diesel Performance
1:00 IK / CK simulation exercise sample
2:15 Closing and next steps
2:30 End

What actually happened?  Two of us stayed in the training room to set up the afternoon simulation and didn’t go on the tour.  I didn’t realize that the live coaching demo planned didn’t happen on the tour. In retrospect I would always do a live CK cycle at the start of the simulation in any case.  You can’t do too many!  Our feedback survey data is here. https://www.surveymonkey.net/results/SM-ZTX7NQFX/

If you would like a copy of our slides, or if you are interested in our participant reflection booklet, you can be in touch through the website or through the comments section.

Training and KataCon

There are options at many price points for learning Kata, and there are paid and volunteer coaches. For example, about a third of our Vancouver KPD participants are doing two days of training with Mark Rosenthal through Impact Washington. Find Mark at www.theleanthinker.com  The main annual event is the Kata Summit. Information on the next one is here www.katasummit.com

  • reply Dedicated servers ,

    More importantly, when we have mastered a Kata for how to proceed through unclear territory we don’t have to fear the obstacles, changes and unknowns we will encounter. Rather than trying to hold on to a sense of certainty based on our view at the moment, we can get confidence from practicing the Improvement Kata pattern, because it helps us work through uncertainty.

    Leave a comment