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Recommended References

In my ongoing journey toward excellence in continuous improvement, I often look for and am asked about online and offline references. Here are some of my recommendations:

ONLINE The website of the Lean Enterprise Institute, Dan Womack’s creation. In their words, LEI “is a nonprofit education, publishing, research, and conference organization”. LEI provides excellent education and forum opportunities as well as providing a variety of publications and blogs around all aspects of Lean. It is my go-to site when I am looking to understand flow and pull value in greater depth. For me, iSixSigma is to statistics and Six Sigma as LEI is to lean. iSixSigma provides a wide variety of online reference materials and links to other sources on applying Six Sigma and on using and interpreting statistical tools. calls itself “The Engine Room of Continuous Improvement”. Their focus is on education, particularly “blended learning”. This approach couples a robust e-learning experience with targeted in-person activities to teach Lean Six Sigma. Their monthly Black Belt webcast program always provides something of value.


LEI’s series: Learning to See, Seeing the Whole, Creating Level Pull, and Creating Continuous Flow This series of workbooks provides action guides for implementing “lean manufacturing”.

Lean Six Sigma for Service, Michael L George: If you are a fan of case studies, this is the reference for you in applying Lean Six Sigma off the manufacturing floor.

Toyota Kata, Mike Rother: An ultimate how-to guide along with the why behind it for continuously improving and managing continuous improvement.

Lean Manufacturing for the Small Shop, Gary Conner: One of the first job shop oriented discussions on lean manufacturing I came across. It helped me understand how lean works in a low volume, high variety environment.

It’s Not Luck, Eliyahu Goldratt: A sequel to The Goal and a discussion of how to apply the Theory of Constraints outside of manufacturing.

Show and Tell, Dan Roam: A very nice how-to for using visual thinking in your presentations. Believe it or not, there are only four presentations and the PUMA helps you create them. Pickup Dan’s other books (Back of Napkin and Blah Blah Blah) for more great material on visual thinking. His websites, and , are great references, too.

The Lean Manager, Michael Ballé and Freddy Ballé: The middle book of what is currently a trilogy addresses the challenges of managing in a lean workplace. How do you transition your people to be more autonomous and to solve problems in their area every day without upsetting the apple cart?