Thursday, August 20, 2009

Draw a Pig to Learn the Importance of Standard Work

So you might ask what does standard work and drawing a pig have in common. Well, the activity of drawing a pig can be used to teach the importance of standardized work. I learned of this activity a number of years ago during a standard work seminar. It was described in the AME Target Magazine in fall of 2005 in an article called “Wabash National’s Lean Turnaround Experience..

This activity is simple, no cost, and great for everyone. I often use this activity as a teambuilding exercise to kick-off teaching elements of standard work. Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston put a simple explanation of this exercise on his blog. Round 1 starts with the audience drawing the side profile of a pig. In round 2 you give standard work instructions to the audience to draw the pig. The final round has the audience draws the pig with standard work instructions with visual template for comparison. Everyone will find it easier to draw the pig in the final round. You’ll also find that all the pigs in the audience look that same at the end.

This training is unique in proving a picture is worth a thousand words and the importance of standard work in the elimination of variability from unit to unit. It can be a great ice breaker or team building exercise even if you aren’t specifically teaching standard work.


  1. Tim,

    Thanks for passing this along to your readers. The other thing that happens is that the time it takes to draw the picture decreases with each successive round.

  2. Here's an update, Tim!