Hoshin Kanri, a strategic planning methodology, originated in Japan post World War II. It’s designed to capture and cement strategic goals, as well as the means to achieve them. The approach is unique, as it combines top-down goal setting with organic, bottom-up feedback. This fosters both alignment and autonomy within the organisation.

The methodology is divided into seven steps. The first is to establish organisational vision, followed by developing breakthrough objectives, which are major, multi-year goals. The third step involves developing annual objectives, while the fourth is to cascade the objectives down the organisation. The fifth step is implementation, where the rubber meets the road. The last two steps are monthly and annual reviews, ensuring the plan stays on track.

Hoshin Kanri, also known as Policy Deployment, is not a project management technique, but a means of strategic planning and management. The methodology is particularly effective when an organisation needs to turn around, or radically improve in some way. It’s a powerful tool in the arsenal of continuous improvement methodologies, complementing other approaches like Lean and Six Sigma.

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