For analysts, the most important part of delivering concise, usable analysis is to prepare your workspace beforehand.  You know the drill: a vague request for analysis is sent to you with a short deadline.  Your only resource is a database that is masterfully created – in the DBAs mind – but makes data gathering more than difficult.  You have just a few hours to extract the data, make sense of it all and draw a poignant conclusion from the mess, and send it to someone who won’t read it until next week.

The most important step, after you’ve received this request, is to implement a workflow for separating the data into its logical parts (i.e. preparing your workspace).  That’s where the 5 S’s in Kaizen are helpful.  

The 5 S’s of Kaizen


Sorting is a step that involves selecting what you need to complete the job and removing everything else from your work area.

Set in Order/Straighten

This step customizes your workstation and surrounding area to meet your work area needs.  Arrange remaining items so they are easy to select, use, and return to their proper location


This step is powerful because its purpose is to find the reason why things become dirty.  Emphasis is on the removal of dust, dirt, and grime to reveal the source and eliminate it.


This step creates a work area free of checklists; itf good standards are put in place it will be easier to maintain and continue improving.


Sustaining is the end result of how well we have performed the previous four S’s.  In the sustainability stage think of ways to eliminate effort in maintaining an area.

Question: What methods do you use to organize your workspace?


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