Quality: 3. Structured Problem Solving for Leaders

This course is designed to develop concepts of structured problem solving in business using the A3 problem solving tool. The focus of this course is on the A3 problem solving model which originated in the Lean Management System. Learners will be guided though each step of the A3 thinking and management process using practical and relevant business examples. Learners will be provided the opportunity to practice framing their own problem using an A3 form.

This is a self-paced course with optional knowledge check quizzes after each lesson. These non-graded quizzes allow you to check your understanding of the lesson objectives before proceeding to the next lesson. After the final lesson you will be required to take the final exam. You must score 75% or higher to pass the course and obtain a certificate of completion.

  • Define the steps of the A3 process, with examples
  • Understand how to use the A3 form (included a downloadable template)
  • Lead an improvement initiative using the A3 process
  • Understand the A3 process through a case study from a hospital
Contact Time

1 Contact Hour: based on 60 minute contact hour

Estimated Time

The estimated time for completion for this activity is 1 hour(s).

Intended Audience

This course is designed to meet the continuing education requirements of anyone in business, healthcare, government, not-for-profit or education. This course is also appropriate for young business professionals in an academic environment.

HLC - Higher Learning Commission
Rochester Community and Technical College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
HLC Institution ID:1399
Disclosure Statements:
Author Originating

Philip Zeccardi - Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt PHR Baldrige Evaluator

Philip Zeccardi is an adjunct instructor for Business and Workforce Education Center at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester, Minnesota. Philip received his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management at the University of Minnesota - Duluth. He uses the principles of the Baldrige framework for performance excellence to improve workforce outcomes. He speaks on topics of strategic thinking, social media development, workplace culture, employee engagement and satisfaction, workforce planning and fact-based thinking. Additionally, Philip is extensively involved with the Performance Excellence Network as a trainer and Minnesota state Baldrige Lead Evaluator.


Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection. Retention of the materials for longer than the class term, unauthorized further dissemination of the materials, or use of copyrighted materials in any way other than intended for this class is prohibited by Copyright and Teach Act laws.


This course was developed with Rochester Community and Technical College's Center for Business and Workforce Education located in Rochester Minnesota.

Evidence Based References
Mark Graban
(2011) - Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee En-gagement, Second Edition 2nd Edition. Productivity Press; 2nd edition (November 7, 2011) -
Paul E. Plsek
(2013) - Accelerating Health Care Transformation with Lean and Innovation: The Virginia Mason Experience. CRC Press; October 7, 2013 -
Mike Rother and John Shook
(1999) - Learning to See Lean. Enterprise Institute, Inc. 1st edition (October 1, 1999) -
Course Code
Course Category
Quality Improvement