Lean Certification Portfolio Writing Tips
By Jeff Lytle, Lean Gold Certified (LGC)
Whether you are striving for Lean Bronze, Silver, or Gold certification; submitting a comprehensive experiential portfolio is critical to the process. While passing the exams demonstrates your knowledge, the portfolio is the most tangible – and most important – evidence of your lean experience. Reviewers utilize the portfolio as verification of practical, hands-on application of the knowledge you demonstrated by passing the exams.
Here are a few tips that can help you submit an effective portfolio:
- Don't Assume: Remember that the reviewers weren't present for your experience. Maximize the space allotted for each section to give direct, concise accounts of your experience.
- State "What" and "How": Go beyond simply answering the "what" to also tell the reviewers the practical application of the tools – the "how". For example; to answer what metrics did you use in this project – simply listing the metrics doesn't tell the reviewer how they were used. Consider one additional sentence to tell a more complete story.
i.e. – Metrics used in this project floor space utilization, motion, and process cycle time. (What)
These metrics were critical to aligning the team to the project objectives, helped us prioritize the most pertinent opportunities for improvement, and were visually posted to communicate progress along the way. (How)
- Don't forget about You!: Remember this certification is about you! This is an individual certification that is intended to recognize you for your lean leadership. Be clear in describing what you personally did to deliver success in the projects. For example: This general team statement "The team utilized fishbone diagrams and five-why's to complete root cause analysis" tells the reviewer something different than stating how you personally impacted or led the team: "I facilitated the team through effective root cause analysis by utilizing tools such as fishbone and five-why. These tools helped allowed the team to complete structured, facilitated, discussions to go beyond symptoms and drive to true root causes for the issues we faced."
Telling the story of your lean experience by being concise, stating the facts, and focusing on your lean leadership will help you write an effective portfolio in support of your quest for lean certification!