Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: The Lean Practitioner’s Handbook

Any time you are trying to learn something new or you need to jog your memory your will find a reference guide helpful. Mark Eaton, as consultant, author and lean practitioner himself, authored a practical reference guide that will be useful on a day-to-day basis. TheLean Practitioner’s Handbook bridges the gap between the tools and the concepts of Lean and the practical use of the tools.

Eaton discusses key areas, such as: aspects of a Lean Program; scoping a program; value stream mapping; 2P and 3P events; rapid improvement events; managing for daily improvement; engaging the team; spotting problems and communicating progress.

This book covers a wide variety of tools and concepts and explains how to apply them in practice.

List of Chapters
1 Planning for Lean
2 Key Lean concepts
3 Scoping projects
4 Value stream mapping events
5 2P/3P events
6 Rapid improvement events (RIE)
7 Managing for daily improvement (MDI)
8 Leader standard work (LSW)
9 Strategic planning
10 Engaging the team
11 Ensuring success
12 Communications and celebrations
13 Key tools and concepts

The book also includes a wide range of templates and checklists to help you prepare for and deliver Lean events and activities and embed the changes that arrive. These checklists and templates are also available online by registering at

It is structured from the standpoint of conducting a lean event or project focused on one area. As a result this book is well suited for those in frontline to middle management roles, individuals we would refer to as practitioners.

Each chapter starts with a series of questions Eaton intends on answering for the reader.  The chapters conclude with closing thoughts to summarize the learning of the chapter. There is a useful glossary of terms and index to help you locate specific terms.

Eaton has put his own experience into this book with advice and techniques for leader standard work, ensuring success and communication that I found particularly useful. However, he misses an important concept in Lean centered on “respect for people.”

As a reference guide The Lean Practitioner’s Handbook offers a snapshot summary of key tools and Lean concepts. It a practical, easily accessible resource for anyone in implementing Lean.

Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of this book for my review.

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