Use a PICK Chart to Find the Best Ideas

Last week we talked about the eight wastes and using a waste walk to identify them in your organization.  As a review, your rapid improvement team members go on a waste walk, capture the wastes they observe, and placed them on a DOWNTIME chart.  Then they brainstormed solutions to eliminate the waste.  The next step is to use a PICK chart to narrow down brainstormed ideas.

What is a PICK chart?  It’s an impact/effort matrix.  You use it to identify the best solutions from a large quantify of ideas.  Along one axis of the chart is the effort required.  Is the idea easy to implement or hard to implement?  The other axis of the chart contains the impact of the idea.  Does the idea have a big impact or a small impact?  The chart is broken into four quadrants.


The four quadrants are Small impact and easy to implement- these ideas you Plan for a later time.  They have a small impact and we’ll focus on more impactful options for the time being.

The next quadrant is a big impact and easy to implement.  These ideas you Implement as soon as possible.

Next to this is Big Impact and Hard to Implement- these ideas you Challenge.  In reality, they might become a formal project because they are hard to do but have a big impact.  You can also try breaking the idea into smaller pieces that might become easier to implement.

Finally, there is a small impact, hard to implement quadrant.  These ideas, we typically Kill.  If it is hard to do and has little payback why do it?

The four quadrants become Plan, Implement, Challenge, and Kill.  A PICK chart.  How do we use this tool?  Staying with the example from last week, have your RIE team members, one at a time, take their brainstormed idea and ask the team if is easy to implement or hard to implement?  Then if it has a large impact or small impact.

It’s helpful to develop some guidelines around easy and hard, and big and small impacts.  An example might be if we can implement an idea in less than a month, it is easy to implement.  Or if an idea saves more than $5,000, it is a big impact.  These are just suggestions.  Decide the parameters that are best for your company.

1.  Review Brainstormed ideas

As your team members review the brainstormed ideas, place them in the correct quadrant.  Here is a PICK chart from the DOWNTIME example I used last week.  Don’t be surprised if the Kill category has nothing in it.  Remember to use the criteria you established for understanding if something is easy or hard to implement and has a big or small impact.


2.  Implement the ideas in the Implement quadrant

If you are using the PICK process as part of a value stream mapping exercise where you are developing your Lean Game Plan, schedule these ideas as Rapid Improvement Events.

If you are using this process as part of the RIE process to eliminate waste, then try to implement as many of these as possible during your RIE.

3.  Take a picture for the report out

Don’t forget to take pictures as you proceed through the process.  It’s great for the end of the event report out.  Sharing this helps people who weren’t in the event understand your decision-making process.  It shows that they considered many options before systematically choosing the best option!

This is the best practice on how to use a PICK chart to narrow down brainstormed ideas.

As always, it is an honor to serve you and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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