24 November, 2022

How to do a Gemba Walk | Video

In an earlier video, I answered the question, ‘What is Going to the Gemba?’ In this video, I summarize that one and go deeper into how to do a Gemba Walk.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

What is the Gemba?

Gemba is a Japanese term that means ‘actual place’. 

‘Going to the gemba’ means heading for where the work is done, the value is created, or the problem has occurred.

That is, physically going to the part of an office, factory, process, or supply chain where the problem lies, to understand it fully. You cannot do it remotely.

For more, see our video: What is the Gemba …and Going to the Gemba? | Video

What is a Gemba Walk?

A Gemba Walk is taking the time to walk through your office, factory, shop, or warehouse and watch how things are being done and talk with people who are doing it.

7-step Gemba Walk Process

Here is my 7-step process:

  1. Plan: Think about what you want to learn or why you will take a Gemba Walk.
  2. Prepare: Do your homework. Find out wat you can expect to see and learn about what should be happening.
  3. Schedule: Plan the time and place and consider whether to alert the team leader, manager, or supervisor
  4. Observe: When you get there, observe what is happening, the mood of the people, the quality of the work, and how well processes are working.
  5. Recognize: Look for opportunities to recognize and celebrate good work
  6. Opportunities: Identify opportunities to discuss improvements with the team
  7. Actions: After your Gemba Walk, reflect on what you learned and any actions you need to take or initiate.

Questions to Ask on a Gemba Walk

So, what are some of the questions you can usefully ask, while on your Gemba Walk?

  • What:
    • are you working to achieve? 
    • will ‘done’ look like? 
    • are the quality standards you are working towards?
  • What:
    • are your schedule (and budget) targets? 
    • is your status? 
  • What 
    • setbacks have you had? 
    • obstacles are blocking you? 
    • concerns do you have?
  • How:
    • are you progressing?
    • can you improve your process?
    • do you get help if you need it?
  • What:
    • support do you need?
    • materials or equipment would help you?

Carefully curated video recommendations for you:

What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

Learn Still More

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For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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