Hoshin Planning: Seven Step Process

As discussed in the previous post, Hoshin planning (Hoshin Kanri) is a strategic planning process with built in review, improvement, and learning activities. The process is designed to take an organization from development to the completion of a specific objective through a collaborative effort of the entire organization. Like other Lean methods, Hoshin planning gives organizations another tool for continuous improvement and culture development.

Hoshin Planning Hoshin Kanri

The overview of Hoshin discussed in the previous post was directed more towards the differences and methodology behind the process. This time however, I will dive into the actual seven-step process that takes you through the entire Hoshin. The steps strategically take into account every action needed to help you achieve your long-term goals.

The steps are designed to incorporate an assortment of business development and Lean tools to compliment one another as you work towards accomplishing a breakthrough achievement in your organization.

The Seven-Steps to Hoshin Planning

1. Establish Vision, Mission and Key Metrics of Organization

This is typically done at the executive level and focuses on identifying the current state of the organization with respect to your vision, planning process and execution tactics.

  • What do you currently have in place that allows for objectives to be created and implemented?
  • Are there current long-term plans already in place?
  • Do you have a current vision and/or mission statement?
  • What is the current organizational structure and daily management system?

2. Develop Breakthrough Objectives

A Breakthrough objective can also be labeled as an individual Hoshin. These are significant improvements  that will require the entire organization to engage in the process over an established time frame (three to five years), to complete. The Hoshin objective set during step two establishes a road map for success, allowing management to identify projects and strategies to meet them. Each objective should have the following elements moving forward:

  • Description of the desired outcome and the elements that it will be measured by
  • Specific metrics that can be used to measure the progress and show that the objective has been met
  • A timetable for the desired completion
  • An individual who can be accountable and report on the objective and/or strategies being used to achieve the end goal

3. Develop Annual Objectives

At this point, it is time to transition from strategy development into strategy deployment. Annual objectives are ones that you will need to complete in the current year in order to reach your overall breakthrough objective you are striving for. This is typically the point where the Hoshin Matrix is instilled to help begin the strategy and objective deployment.

Hoshin Matrix

While at first the matrix might seem a bit complicated, it is quite helpful once you get the information needed and plugged in. The benefits are:

  • When completed, you have a strategic planning document that keeps everyone on the same path
  • Establishes the intent of the companies actions by linking vision, strategic objectives and actionable activities in one place
  • Assign high level ownership to specific areas of focus
  • Your output is now the actionable improvements that can be reviewed and modified using a popular Lean tool known as catchball


Hoshin Matrix

4. Deploy via Catchball

Catchball is the communication process where multiple parties engage in an ongoing exchange of information about what it will take to achieve a particular objective. It’s both a top-down and bottom-up approach that allows for multiple views to collaborate towards the best approach to achieve an objective. Catchball has multiple benefits, including a staff that feels as though they took part in the development, which can therefore lead to a sense of ownership in the process.

Once you have developed your plan of action through and how these objectives will be met through  “catchballing,” you have the means to deploy your annual objectives with confidence.


5. Review Results Weekly, Monthly and Annually

Reviews are an extremely important part of the Hoshin process. They keep leadership updated on the progression, dedicate time to evaluate current issues that may have come up, fosters a culture of accountability, and keeps everyone on the same track.

It is crucial that reviews are taken serious and not for granted. They are a vital part of the process and can be the difference in your overall success. Using simple charts like a Hoshin Kanri Bowling Chart will help track progress and keep everyone on target.

6. Problem Solving

Throughout the review process, there will be times when you come across objectives that were missed or not met. This will require countermeasures to be put in place and implemented.  Root causes will needed to be analyzed and counter actions developed to restore the progress. Like in many Lean processes, PDCA (plan-do-check-act) becomes very crucial in this phase of the Hoshin process.

7. Reflection Time

This is the time to reflect on what did and didn’t work throughout the process. It’s a time to learn and teach one another what you’ve learned. This is a step that some just skip after a completed Hoshin, however this time spent can help your organization in moving forward as well as help in the development of future breakthrough objectives.

Additional Resources