Find the root cause

Also known as

現地現物 or “go and see”, or Gemba attitude, or “Getcha your boots on”. Gemba is the Japanese term for “the place” in this case ‘the place where it actually happens’.


In order to truly understand a situation one needs to go to ‘gemba’ or, the ‘real place’ - where work is done. From Wikipedia:

“Taichi Ohno, creator of the Toyota Production System is credited, perhaps apocryphally, with taking new graduates to the shop floor and drawing a chalk circle on the floor. The graduate would be told to stand in the circle and to observe and note down what he saw. When Ohno returned he would check and if the Graduate had not seen enough he would be asked to keep observing. Ohno was trying to imprint upon his future engineers that the only way to truly understand what happens on the shop floor was to go there. It was here that value was added and here that waste could be observed.”


This may sound contradictory, but if you are reporting to someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should be writing lots of reports. The Genchi Genbutsu principle is fairly easy. If one of your managers wants to understand what’s going on, he should drop by and take a look at what’s happening in the team, rather than expect you to write reports.


First of all, you tell your manager that you are not going to write any reports. Next, make sure that your manager is able to quickly grasp the situation when passing by. Big visible charts come to mind [1]. In any case, getting your manager to understand the situation should take as little effort as possible.


  1. Make it visible

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