In Japanese culture, Hansei means self-reflection to improve our actions, decision making or behavior. It’s part of continuous improvement, but in this case, not the process is analyzed and improved in fact, the human itself is improved.

In the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle in the DO part, we think about our actions, result, failure, expectations from ourselves in a team project. The very first step in Kanban is Hansei, because how I suppose to optimize or develop a process if I am continually making mistakes without noticing for myself, and without understanding it why is happening. We can call this process self-meditation.

In the first step, we need to recognize what is wrong in our actions or behavior. For example, when we are working in team projects every team member has their responsibilities. Teamwork can be compared, to a pizza dough, cut in multiple pieces. Every member has his piece to shape, decorate, flavor, but in the end, the slice must fit with the other ones, to complete the pizza. It is not important how you do it, what kind of tools are you using, what everybody expects from you, is to finish your task in time and to get a great result. The pizza dough represents the whole project, and the pieces represent the tasks splits to every one of the group. 

The project leader’s expectations are high from everybody because the time is too short, too many tasks need to be done on time and without mistakes. At a certain point, every team member presents their results, and step by step, the slices shaping the pizza. Unfortunately, not everybody finished successfully the task.

I failed in the project, I am not able to complete ”the pizza with my slice.”
I feel stupid because I’m disappointing my team. Victimization or hating myself is not a solution. If I don’t understand, what is the reason I failed in this mission, probably in the future will happen again. In this type of situation is the Hansei method used.
I start questioning myself to see through the whole situation.

I explain the method through a real example, to see, how simple it is:
I’ m a process engineer responsible for 4 welding lines. Based on statistic reports, on the third welding line are more defects than in the first two lines together. Adjusters are trained for changing the electrodes, supervising the stations, and whenever it appears an abnormality, they report immediately to their superiors. Every 2 lines are supervised by an adjuster. Lines 3 and 4 have a new adjuster under the training period. I have multiple projects, and I’m overdue with many of them, so I’m in a rush to finish, as early as possible.
I analyze the defects, more than that, I know the adjuster is a new employee, so I have my conclusion in 5 minutes. My result is the following: he didn’t change the electrodes in time, because of that, the welding is unstable, as a result, there are more defects as usual. Probably, the training was not enough explicit and it is not clear for him, what he should do, in situations like this.
I have a mission, to fix this problem, to do not produce more defects. Based on my results, I suggest effective training methods, to avoid situations like this. Everybody is happy, and the subject is closed.
What happens next: the adjuster has trained again, and now he can supervise a process line and occur whenever is something suspicious happening.
Despite my effort, the result is the same, many scrap parts on the third process line. I decided to leave everything behind, taking the time to analyze the process. Standing in front of the station, I observed the pushing device which holds the wire in the right position during welding, is broken. I felt terrible for my mistake, but nobody cares, it needs to be fixed. The adjuster had nothing to do with the missing pushing device because he was a new guy. For my mistake, I finished this project staying overtime.
I started questioning myself how was this possible?

5 WhyReasonSolution
Why did I failed?I didn’t analyze the processProcess analyzing every single time and simulating the failure
Why?I was overdue with multiple projectsTime management for projects
Why?I started every project but none of them was finishedI will work max on 2 projects in a time
Why?I’m blocked in one and rather start another oneBrainstorming with employees involved in the process and with colleges to get an opinion from outside
Why?I’m focused on many things and lost myself in ideasTaking notes and mind-mapping, focusing on just one topic at a time

This principle can be used in everyday life anytime when we don’t perform as we expected, and we would like to improve ourselves without repeating the same mistake.

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