Guest Blogger, Dean Odle Provides a JBS Example

I want to first express my appreciation for your TWI Service site and the TWI Blog. These site have both been a tremendous help in my study of TWI and the history of TPS and Lean. I had a recent experience with the Job Breakdown Sheets that I'd love to share with you and others.

As the school year in Texas is winding down, I notice that the projects my third grade daughter, Alishia, is bringing home lately are getting more interesting and creative. Last week, Ms. Hathaway assigned the students an assignment called Teach the Teacher. Each student was tasked with designing a short lesson to present to the class and teach the teacher. The topic was up to the students to decide but, needed to be something they enjoyed doing such as a hobby or recently learned either in school or at home.

Alishia had no problem deciding the topic she would teach. You see, she just completed her first session of volleyball and she loved to practice passing or bumping the ball every chance she could get. Other than choosing the topic of the lesson, How to Bump a Volleyball, there were other requirements of the assignment such as written description of the Objective, Materials, and Step-by-step instruction of the activity to teach.

Alishia was very excited about the project and began working on writing out the steps at about 6pm. After about an hour of watching her struggle, I decided to offer my help as she was having a very difficult time describing the basic steps. This is tough task when breaking down a job even for adults as it can be very difficult to separate the steps from the many key points.

First thing I did to help Alishia was ask her to demonstrate for me the bump skill her coach had taught her and tell me in her own words everything she was doing to get in the perfect bumping position. "First, Dad, I have to get my hands ready," she said. "Great, do you think that could be the first step?", I asked. And, she wrote it down. Then, it dawned on me we are actually "breaking down a job" so why not introduce to her the JBS?

So, I quickly printed the JBS from your site Bryan and Alishia filled it out with not only all the steps but also the Key Points and Reasons to each step in about 20 minutes. Needless to say, she was so impressed with herself and of course so was I! At one point, she even said out loud, "Wow, you're really good at this Dad!" which was very amusing since she was doing all the work. Once she felt good about the Steps, Key Points, and Reasons, I ask her to go through all the Key Point and tell me which ones are Critical and which just make the step Easier. I thought this would be a difficult task for her but to my surprise again, she said, "Holding your hands together helps a lot but you can still bump it by just keeping your hands close together. They just might come apart." It only took another 3 or 4 minutes and she had worked through identifying all the Key Points for criticality. After Alishia had completed the entire JBS sheet, I helped her type it up on the computer into the Word doc template. She then searched the internet for the perfect volleyball "bump" photo to add to the sheet and added it as the final touch.

The next day, when I arrived home from work, Alishia was eagerly waiting at the door to greet me. "Dad, Dad, they got it! The whole class bumped the ball. It was a blast! Your sheet worked. "I had to confess to her that it wasn't "my" sheet it was her hard work and the sheet was just a great place for her to write out her instruction.

This experience for me solidified my the power and simplicity of the TWI methods and material. If a third grader can use it, I think now I have no more excuses for not introducing it to my entire team and breaking down our many jobs at the office.

Bryan, again I want to thank you for all your efforts to make the TWI material so readily available through your sites. I have also attached Alishia's first JBS on How to Bump a Volleyball for you to review and enjoy.

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At June 3, 2009 at 11:32 AM , Blogger Unknown said...


Thanks for sharing this story with the lean community! I think this is a great example of the simplicity of JI as well as how easy it can be for leaders to get results through their people. This could have just as easily been a coach and athelete, supervisor and worker, or student and teacher. Your daughter also demonstrated that JI is very useful beyond the assembly line. And I agree...if a third grader can use world class methods used by Toyota, then we have NO EXCUSES.

Thanks again,

At June 3, 2009 at 2:42 PM , Anonymous Ron Pereira said...

Amazing post and story. I've shared this post several colleagues. Great job.


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