ISEE Cycle

Every successful lean transformation goes through the ISEE Cycle!

The power behind the “10-Step Lean Transformation Training and Implementation” methodology is the ISEE Cycle. 

The letters of the ISEE Cycle are an acronym for:

  • Insight
  • Strategize
  • Execute
  • Evaluate

Like many people in the lean transformation world, I was educated to use the Deming Cycle or PDCA - Plan, Do, Check, Act. Since starting my lean journey back in 1983, I found that when starting out on their lean journey, many clients did not find the Deming Cycle intuitive or easy to fit into their current business processes. This led me to create and develop the ISEE Cycle as an easier method of defining and understanding the necessary phases of their lean transformation procedure. As an organization matured and developed their internal lean transformation capabilities, they incorporated the Deming Cycle or PDCA procedure into their improvement activities. 

 I will present a brief explanation of the four phases of the ISEE Cycle. I have a detailed explanation of the ISEE Cycle in my Level 2 - Lean Practitioner training courses. 


An organization must be capable of gaining a complete understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, the primary focus of the management team’s activities during the Insight phase of the ISEE Cycle is to investigate and assess the current status of their business. They need to identify where and why the business is not performing or meetings its goals and objectives. This requires the ability to be open and honest, and to go beyond any personal biases about the business. 


When the Insight phase is completed, the next step is to define a Strategy. This involves defining and developing a strategic plan to provide a clear direction as to where the business will need to be in the next 3 to 5 years. 

During the Strategize phase of the ISEE cycle, a management team will define the 5W2H or "what, where, why, who, when, how and how much." The purpose being to provide a clear case to direct their valuable resources i.e., people, time, money, etc. to focus on the critical changes that are needed to improve the business. 

The strategic plan will clearly state which specific business processes will be improved and prioritize how the improvement teams will focus their time and energy. It will also define the expected outcomes or results for these business processes after improvement. 


When the Strategize phase is complete, the next step is to Execute the plan. This involves following through and implementing the improvement initiatives that were identified during the development of the strategic plan.

An organization must take their concepts and ideas that are written on paper and transfer them into the reality of their business processes. They can only achieve this by taking action and executing the planned strategic initiatives. Without action, it's just a paper exercise!

This phase of the ISEE Cycle is where many organizations fail! Why is this? It is because they commit valuable resources and take the time to prepare a plan, and then they do not follow through. A plan will only work if it is implemented according to the schedule defined in the strategic plan.


Once the strategic initiatives have been executed, the next step is Evaluate. This involves evaluating the process outputs of the executed strategic initiatives. This is done by tracking and trending the results to determine if they are in alignment with the expected results defined in the strategic plan.

When the Evaluate procedure has been integrated into all the business processes, the performance data will flow into the Insight quadrant. As an organization matures in their ability to use the ISEE Cycle, Insight will transform into Intelligence. At this point it begins to influence and change the culture of the organization. It moves the management team towards developing and establishing pro-active business practices using problem-solving, instead of being stuck in a re-active and fire-fighting mode.

Categories: : Training