Linking Top to Bottom: Using Hoshin Planning for Strategy Development

Kristine Nissen Bradley, Principal, Firefly Consulting, Austin, TX, USA

Keywords: Hoshin Planning, Strategy, Strategic Planning

Industry: All

Level: Basic

ABSTRACT

There are three common challenges associated with Lean Six Sigma deployments that may not seem connected at first glance but potentially have the same root cause.

The first—one of the most common complaints heard about deployments—is a disconnect between Lean Six Sigma and business priorities, results that senior executives care about. This failure mode arises when the streams of “strategy development” and “project selection” operate independently of each other or when the links between them are unclear.

The second problem often occurs in companies that have pockets of success with their deployments. Eventually, they realize that what any successful department or process can achieve is limited by the quality and productivity of other business units. That is, poor performance in some other part of the organization puts a low ceiling on what the successful deployment areas can achieve.

The third problem is seen when different parts of an organization have very different operational needs. A classic example is in companies that have new product development activities whose timelines are either much longer or much shorter than the annual, four-quarter cycle that other departments use. In these situations, balancing the use of resources is particularly tricky, and design projects can get shortchanged unless the organization can recognize and resolve conflicts in a timely manner.

Do you see the common thread here? All of these problems are symptoms of poor connections between different parts of an organization. Or, looked at another way, these problems can be resolved if the organization can make better connections between its moving parts: between strategic priorities and frontline projects; between functions along a value stream; between teams that compete for limited resources.

Making these kinds of connections is the purpose of Hoshin Planning. It helps organizations establish links between broad strategies, priorities for each division or department, and ultimately individual projects. Along the way, each piece of the puzzle gets to see how its priorities and goals contribute to the goals of each other piece, and how they all fit together to create strategic direction.

This presentation will cover the basics of Hoshin Planning, provide guidance on how to get started and communicate through examples the value of using the methodology.

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