For updates regarding COVID-19, please visit the University of Michigan's information page here

Kata for Daily Improvement

Create a culture of continuous improvement, adaptation, and innovation

This is the definitive Kata workshop. Through an interative simulation facilitated by world-class experts, you will practice the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata together before applying these skills first-hand at a real organization — preparing you to implement a culture of continuous improvement.

Key Information

Course Dates

Oct 19-21, 2020
Ann Arbor, MI

GO BLUE Discounts
Limited-time refund policy through July 2020

Time Commitment

3 days


Remote Delivery

Continuing Education Units (CEU)


Free Webinar - May 28, 2020

On Thursday, May 28 the U-M Kata for Daily Improvement instructional team is hosting a free live webinar from 10:00-11:00 am EDT. In addition to sharing best practices for deploying Kata, our team will answer questions and provide insight to help you address current challenges facing your organization. 

Register for Free Webinar

What is Kata?

Program Overview

Day 1 - Simulation and Overview of Improvement Kata
  • Introduction to Simulation
    • Round 1 of the simulation, collect baseline metrics
    • Identify opportunities for improvement
  • Overview and Improvement Kata Practice
    • Understanding the direction
      • Create high level Value Stream Map for simulation
    • Introduction to Storyboards
      • Identify vision, challenge, and focus process for simulation storyboard of round 2 of simulation, collect current condition data
    • Grasp the Current Condition
      • Create Value Stream Map for simulation
      • Update storyboards
    • Identifying a Target Condition
    • The PDCA process
    • Round 3 of simulation, conduct first experiment, collect new current condition data - Reflections of Day 1
Day 2 - Deploying Kata in Your Organization
  • Deploying Kata in your organization
    • Review proven approaches
    • Developing second coaches
    • Developing your plan, participants share their plans going forward
  • Reflections of Day 2
Day 3 - Zingerman's Practitioner Day
  • Brief history of Zingerman's Mail Order (ZMO)
    • On Day Three, you will have the opportunity see Kata in action at Zingerman's Mail Order, an online gourmet food shop that does annual sales of nearly $18 million. Participants can learn firsthand from ZMO after years of practicing Kata. Learn what worked, didn't work, and adaptations that ZMO has made along the way.
  • Tour of ZMO
  • Overview of Kata Boards
  • Lunch with Zingerman’s Mail Order Staff
  • Open Book Finance Huddle
  • Kata in the Classroom 1
    • "Kata in the Classroom" (KiC), is an interactive introduction to the four steps of the Improvement Kata used to help anyone teach scientific thinking. Along with the U-M instructional team, Betty will discuss how KiC can help learners of all ages easily grasp the importance of establishing a clear target, setting achievable goals, and taking controlled steps to get there.
  • Kata in the Classroom 2 - With Mike Rother Author of Toyota Kata
  • Work with U of M Instructors on your deployment plan

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to identify a target condition
  • Practice rapid PDCA cycles
  • Understand how to create an effective storyboard
  • Learn how to coach

The Improvement Kata

A four-step sequence that is a systematic, scientific pattern for managing teams. Practicing it helps any team get better at meeting goals and challenges.


Understand the CHALLENGE






EXPERIMENT toward the Target Condition

The Coaching Kata

A set of teaching routines that help you develop coaching skill. It is a coaching pattern that helps managers teach Improvement Kata thinking and acting.


the five Coaching Kata questions


proven approaches


a plan for deploying Kata in your organization

instructional team

Toni Benner
Toni Benner
Lean Specialist and Instructor, Nexus, College of Engineering
Drew Locher
Drew Locher
Lean Specialist and Instructor, Nexus, College of Engineering
President, Change Management Associates
Betty Gratopp
Betty Gratopp
Lead Production Manager, Zingerman's Mail Order

Post Program

Digital Badge

Earn a digital badge for your resume or professional profile:

A preview of what a digital badge for a course might look it. A blue, badge-shaped graphic with the Nexus logo and an icon corresponding to the field of study.


A certificate in your course of study will be awarded upon successful completion of this program.

A preview of what a course certificate of completion might look like.

From the Author:
Mike Rother on Kata

"This course is not about Lean solutions to problems, but about the road to developing your own solutions, again and again! It is a management system that coaches people for continuous improvement and achieving ambitious goals in all aspects of an organization."

More About Mike Rother

Traveling to Ann Arbor?

Information on air transportation, hotels, meal restrictions, what to wear, and more.

View Info

“Kata is the missing link in ensuring that continuous improvement takes place at the process with the involvement of front line leadership. The advantage of being able to practice this daily is inestimable.”

Kata Participant