Overview of Standard Work

Standard work is a documented agreement between practitioners about the current best approach for doing work. Standard work reinforces innovation and makes improvement possible. It is essential for continuous improvement – moving from one standard to a better standard without slipping back.

Standard work describes the work involved achieving a particular solution. It articulates who, what, when, and where work is done. It focuses on content, sequence, timing and outcomes needed. Standard work is intended as a basis for improvement. It is not a prescription or record of what’s to be done. Rather, it is an identification of steps or activities of the best, currently known approach to achieving a solution, within the boundaries established by the organization; it entails visibility (visual controls) and discipline.

Standard work is not static, and when a better way is found the procedure is updated. Continually seeking ways to improve, one must understand the purpose of the standard, and improve the standard, while adhering to its purpose. As you perform standard work, you will find things you don’t like and you will think of one improvement after another. You should implement these ideas right away and make this improved description the new standard. Embrace practices that are proven in real life.