Elevate Episode 110   The C4 Worksheet 20201026
How do you keep track of ugly problems?  I’ve been in dozens of meetings where teams of people argue back and forth about what problem is really plaguing them or who should be doing what about it.  Lots of talk.  Lots of defensive emotions.  Lots of stress.   Zero action.
I’ve said this before but I’m telling you again, you have to write down everything that comes up when talking about a problem.
In most cases, problems that employees tell us about can be taken care of with the C4 card I shared with you last week.  It works great to help people think through the critical issues of the problem, find the most likely root causes, and develop more effective countermeasures by requiring us to think through the impact the countermeasure will have.
But what happens when it’s a big ol’ ugly problem?  
To address these, we need a team.  To help the team get it’s head around the problem, we need something a little more flexible and substantial than the card.
In lean circles, we teach A3 problem solving.  A3 is simply the size of the paper that you work on.  The process follows PDCA steps.  But in many cases, the A3 is just a blank sheet of paper, or a paper with several large blocks designated for different activities, and I have found that many people find this very intimidating and it limits their progress as they try to figure out what is supposed to go where on this blank form.
So I thought I’d offer up some training wheels.  I took a Quality Circles Theme report from Toyota and used it as a guide to create this annotated C4 A3 worksheet.
It starts off with some questions to ask and answer and offers some descriptions and examples of what to put in each block.  It’s everything you need to keep track of a problem or a project in summary form.  
It is not sufficient for collecting everything a team needs to complete a proper analysis of processes surrounding the problem or for details related to confirming root causes and managing experiments to gather enough data to evaluate countermeasures.  For these tasks, I’ve put together a C4 master presentation file that I’ll talk about tomorrow.
This C4 A3 is available to download for free at my website, https://www.leadersights.com.  Just hover over “Learning Resources” and click on “Free Downloads.”  After we verify who you are, you’re free to download everything we have there, including a full copy of my book, “The C4 Process.”
I will also be teaching how to use these in a Lean Frontiers Digital Workshop coming up December 3-4.  Here’s the registration link:  https://leanfrontiers.com/highspeed/
Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.