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Follow-up is the act of making sure that

  • something was supposed to be done was, in fact, done, or
  • that something that was done is working as planned

In short, follow-up is confirming that things are going as expected. Unlike an audit, which is a broader check, a follow-up is a targeted check on a specific item.

Follow-up is critical to Lean success. When teams are engaged and actively participating in a continuous improvement culture, there are a lot of moving parts. It is easy for things to start falling through the cracks.

Creating checkpoints or even using checklists is a good way for leaders to make sure that nothing disrupts the flow of the value stream. If there is a problem, follow-up allows a leader to adjust the buffer time.

Effective managers adjust their follow-up dates depending on the skill and reliability of their employee. Workers who have a strong track record may only have intermittent follow-ups.

Those who struggle with Parkinson’s Law and scope creep or those that have not shown that they can consistently deliver high quality, error-free results on time should be checked while there is still time to hit the deadline.


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