Improvement Kata Principles

A compact course for learning scientific thinking
through practice of the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata

Our goal is to create a compact course that is both effective and affordable.Jeff Liker & James K. Franz

The Improvement Kata Pattern


Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata Basics Course

Our goal is to create a compact course that is both effective and affordable.

Minutes of Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata Lessons

World class instructors

In-Depth Lessons

Quizzes gauge comprehension

Your Instructor

Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker

Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker is Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan and President of Liker Lean Advisors. He is author of the international best-seller, The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer, 2004 (26 languages, over 950,000 copies sold), and has coauthored nine other books about Toyota including Toyota Culture, The Toyota Product Development System, The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership (2011) and Developing Lean Leaders at all Levels: A Practical Guide (2014). . In 2016 he published The Toyota Way to Service Excellence and coauthored a lean transformation business novel called Trenches. His articles and books have won thirteen Shingo Prizes for Research Excellence. In 2012 he was inducted into the Association of Manufacturing Excellence Hall of Fame and in 2016 inducted into the Shingo Academy.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction
  • Download Course Handouts
  • Overview of Improvement Kata
  • Overview and Introduction to Amalgamated Wood Products
  • Quiz 1-3
  • Amalgamated Current & Future State Mapping
  • Quiz 4
  • Current Condition Analysis of Small Box Assembly
  • Quiz 5
  • Process Block Diagram & Output Mapping
  • Quiz 6
  • The First Target Condition in Box Assembly
  • Quiz 7
  • The First Two PDCA Cycles on Box Assembly
  • Quiz 8
  • The Final 3 PDCA Cycles on Box Assembly
  • Quiz 9
  • Lesson Summary & Discussion with Mike Rother
  • Postscript Interview with Jeff Liker & Mike Rother
Bloopers and Outtakes
  • Jef Liker KATA Interview
  • Popular KATA Presentation: “The Challenge of Developing Lean Management”
  • The Improvement Kata in 10 minutes
  • An Example Coaching Cycle
  • Kata Slides and Graphics
  • The Toyota Kata Website

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

To help you learn scientific thinking through practice of the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata

Who should take this course?

Anyone seriously interested in developing the capabilities as a learner and coach of scientific improvement

What can I expect to learn?

There is no substitute for practice in changing your mindset and skills, but this course will bring to life the concepts behind the Improvement and Coaching Kata. This background should accelerate your learning when you seriously commit to deliberate practice with a coach.

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Start Learning

Learn better through reading?

Lean transformation mean different things to different companies, consulting firms, and even “thought leaders.” Some view lean as a toolkit to eliminate waste to be implemented mechanically as one would install software on a computer. The authors of this book view it as a process of engaging people throughout the organization in a new way of managing to deliver exceptional customer value. Those who have been in the trenches often feel like it is the front lines of a civil war between different factions with different points of view. The best way to experience this social and political process, short of living it, is through a good business novel.

In this book, Franz and Liker immerse you in a world where you can begin to learn the basics by walking with the people at Amalgamated and Shiloh as they grapple with the challenges, trials, and tribulations surrounding lean as well as business transformation in general. This in-depth case study was built on a collective sixty years of up close, in depth experiences from both Franz and Liker as they’ve worked with companies around the globe in their transformation efforts. As you will learn in Trenches, this is a full-contact sport. You’ll probably see some aspects of yourself and your company in these pages.

The companies live through distinct phases of lean transformation, not unlike what many companies experience. There is a honeymoon period with an experienced lean coach who guides Amalgamated through a deep transformation of one area of their plant with stunning results. Those involved in the transformation learn to see the transformation as systemic focused on improved processes and development of people. They grow and blossom. Then just as they are preparing to spread this profound knowledge they are merged with Shiloh and their mechanistic-oriented lean black belts take over virtually destroying what Amalgamated started. As the company performance plummets new leadership emerges and a new, deeper approach to developing people is introduced—Toyota kata. Leaders learn practice routines to develop a true kaizen mindset.

Regardless of where you are in your own journey, this book is written to give you support where and when you need it and to offer a glimpse into an organization as it struggles, falls, gets up again and keeps on trying. It does this because, as we always say, that’s how you learn on your journey.