Gemba walks are a favorite Lean management technique, but they can be used by any leader to become more connected with the people and process they manage. During a Gemba walk, the manager visits the place where work is done to observe, show respect to the employees, and potentially identify opportunities for improvement. This post will outline the agenda items for such a walk.
Let’s begin by saying that having an agenda is what sets Gemba walks apart from the technique called Management by Walking Around (MBWA). MBWA is intentionally unstructured and fluid. Gemba walks, on the other hand, have a defined purpose and a specific process to be observed. Although you might not have an exact order of events because you don’t know what you will see, you absolutely should have a list of agenda items that you want to complete before, during, and after each walk. Here’s what should be on it.