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Lean Training System > Lean Reference Guide


Buffer Time (Part 2)

  • Use buffers with care. People tend to operate differently when they have a safety net.
  • If buffers are consistently high, look at your project planning process. If buffers are consistently used up, look closely at your project execution.
  • A leader’s attitude towards delays is directly related to how much extra time people try to build into a task. If any delay is unforgiveable and getting project buffer time is like pulling teeth, then people will add more time to their estimates.


Being good at continuous improvement requires that teams have the skills to manage projects effectively. Because kaizen activity builds off previous projects, timely delivery is important. To improve your team’s ability to deliver steady results, track your buffer time estimates and usage.

Each time they are different from what you expect, look for the root cause. Then work to systematically eliminate the issues that make your improvement projects hard to deliver on time and you’ll be able to accelerate the pace of improvement.

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