20 September, 2022

What is Yokoten? Best Practice Sharing | Video


I have to admit to a certain fascination with Japanese management methods. Here’s another one, that is not as well known: Yokoten.

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This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Japanese Management Methods

I have to admit to a certain fascination with Japanese management methods. I have done videos on:

Here’s a new one, that is not as well known.

Yokoten

There’s a great way I learn and remember stuff. By sharing the new idea with others as soon as I can.

Yokoten is a Japanese manufacturing concept that is especially relevant to Project Managers. And, what particularly tickles me is that, in telling you about Yokoten, I am doing Yokoten. 

Because Yokoten means ‘Best Practice Sharing’

It’s the best translation of a term adopted by Toyota. It reflects the idea of transferring ideas and information among peers.

Yokoten builds on another, more familiar concept: ‘Kaizen’

Kaizen is a continuous flow of improvements. Everyone on your team has the right – and responsibility – to spot ways to do things better.

Once you find an idea that works, through Kaizen, the next thing to do is to share it. That’s Yokoten. In Toyota’s usage, it carries the ideas of:

  • sharing a new idea
  • transmitting it across the organization (rather than top-down)
  • allowing others to copy it
  • co-operation between teams
  • a shared sense of responsibility and success

Yokoten binds teams and work groups together into a larger team. For Toyota, it has a big impact on results. It is a ‘success multiplier’.

Sprint Retrospectives and Lesson Learned Meetings are not Enough

Your team members could go further. Encourage them to share new discoveries among themselves. Give them permission to see what other team members are doing.

Get them to speak with team members of other project teams too. If they can bring back new ideas for best practices to your project, that’s a big win. And don’t be mean-spirited. Best Practice Sharing means giving your colleagues permission to share all the innovations your project is making too. 

Your role is to encourage this and get the word out. Simply compelling people to copy innovations and improvements is a step. But for sustainable personal growth and team performance improvements, you need more.

It’s attitudes and thinking that people need to share, copy, and adopt. We only really learn lessons when we adopt new ideas and the thinking behind them. And that’s what Yokoten is all about.

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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.

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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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