A3 Workshop

A3 workshop

Public A3 workshop in Hungarian – 13-14 September, 2017


Large_MTL_cover_webIn his October 2008 e-letter Jim Womack announced, “We have just launched John Shooks new book, Managing to Learn and I am tremendously excited. I think it is the most important work we have published at LEI. This is because John clearly explains why A3 thinking is the core of the Toyota management system and show how the act of creating an A3 also creates lean managers.”

John, in response, to the basic question “What is an A3?” gave this explanation of the document’s role in the A3 process:“The most basic definition of an A3 would be a P-D-C-A storyboard or report, reflecting Toyota’s way of capturing the PDCA process on one sheet of paper. But the broader notion of the A3 as a process – embodying the way of thinking represented in the format – captures the heart of lean management. In this context, an A3 document structures effective and efficient dialogue that fosters understanding followed by the opportunity for deep agreement. It’s a tool that engenders communication and dialogue in a manner that leads to good decisions, where the proposed countermeasures have a better chance of being effective because they are based on facts and data gathered at the place where the work is performed, from the people who perform it.”


A The purpose of this workshop is to explore the lessons and insights of Managing to Learn from four perspectives:

  1. First participants will explore the requirements of sound A3 thinking and management by following the stages of learning illustrated in Managing to Learn. MTL describes how a young manager learns to handle a significant problem-solving responsibility by creating an A3 that earns him the authority to address the problem in the ways he proposes.  This occurs as he is coached on his problem solving and A3 thinking by his boss and mentor.  He steadily uses the knowledge he is learning to revise his initial “jump-to-a-solution” A3 into an effective PDCA story.  Participants will examine how the A3 changes with each revision, what the young manager has learned about the A3 thinking and the A3 process that he applies in each revision, and what the course of his development indicates about the deep problem-solving focus that characterizes lean thinking.
  2. Second participants will have the opportunity to develop their own eyes and ears to recognize effective A3 stories. They will describe the problem-solving thinking that is required in each section of the A3 for the PDCA story it tells to be effective.
  3. Third participants will create the Title, Background, Current Situation, Goal and Analysis sections of an A3 for a problem-solving responsibility in their own work.Participants are invited to bring real A3s they are already working on for this exercise, or they may begin a new one during the class. They will work in small groups to read, discuss and evaluate each another’s A3s. They will coach each other as authors of their respective A3s offering guidance to consider ways their PDCA stories could be improved.
  4. Fourth participants will learn various uses of the A3 format.Topics that will be examined include:
    • Basic types of A3 stories,
    • Role the A3 plays in the nemawashi process for gaining alignment with the stakeholders in a problem situation and seeking their agreement to proceed with the countermeasures or improvements being proposed,
    • Ways the A3 functions as a change management tool, a general management tool, a human development tool and a knowledge sharing tool.


Through instruction, small group discussions and exercises, the workshop participants will:

  • Learn the basic formats of A3s
  • Learn the uses of the A3 as a management process
  • Gain experience in the three basic roles of the A3 process

– Writing an A3 (Author/Owner)
– Reading A3s (Responder)
– Coaching others about their own A3s (Coach)

Who should attend

  • Any manager who wishes to improve his or her organization
  • Any manager who wishes to lead and manage his or her organization more effectively
  • Change agents, lean promotion office managers, and specialists
  • Senior executives who wish to improve their abilities to lead and manage
  • Anyone who wishes to improve his or her critical lean thinking


The workshop is moderated by Beáta Bartha and Szabolcs Molnár president of Lean Enterprise Institute, Hungary.

Date: 13-14 September, 2017
Duration: 9:00 – 17:00
Location: Morgan Hungary Kft., 1106 Budapest, Csillagvirág utca 7.
Number of participants: max. 15
The language of the workshop is Hungarian!

Terms and Conditions

Price (members):
119.000,- HUF + VAT / person
Price (not members):
159.000,- HUF + VAT / person

which includes a copy of the Hungarian edition of the book Managing to Learn + lunch, coffee and soft drinks served in the brakes.

learn more about Membership application


John Shook


John Shook is recognized as a true sensei who enthusiastically shares his knowledge and insights within the Lean Community and with those who have not yet made the lean leap.

Shook learned about lean management while working for Toyota for nearly 11 years in Japan and the U.S., helping it transfer production, engineering, and management systems from Japan to NUMMI and subsequently to other operations around the world. While at Toyota’s headquarters, he became the company’s first American kacho (manager) in Japan. In the U.S., Shook joined Toyota’s North American engineering, research and development center in Ann Arbor, MI, as general manager of administration and planning. His last position with Toyota was as senior American manager with the Toyota Supplier Support Center in Lexington, KY, assisting North American companies implement the Toyota Production System. As co-author of Learning to See John helped introduce the world to value-stream mapping.

learning_to_see_konyvJohn also co-authored Kaizen Express, a bi-lingual manual of the essential concepts and tools of the Toyota Production System. In his latest book Managing to Learn, he describes the A3 management process at the heart of lean management and leadership.

Shook is an industrial anthropologist with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii, and is a graduate of the Japan-America Institute of Management Science. He is the former director of the University of Michigan, Japan Technological Management Program, and faculty of the university’s Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering.

He is the author of “Toyota’s Secret: The A3 Report”; Sloan Management Review, July 2010; “How to Change a Culture: Lessons from NUMMI”; Sloan Management Review, January 2010. Shook is a sought-after conference keynoter who has been interviewed on lean management by National Public Radio, Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous trade publications.