A1.5. A3


What should I expect the outcomes to be of using the tool?

  • As the name suggests the A3 is linked to its size – an ideal size to visually capture information about your improvement initiative.
  • An A3 is a visual tool that can be used to capture and plan ideas for improvement.
  • Data and information gathered about the improvement are presented within the A3.
  • An A3 is also a tool for presenting and reporting progress and to review outcomes of improvement work.

Tool/ method

The A3 can be used at the start of your improvement for planning, and also as you start to implement your improvement and when you are reviewing the outcomes of your improvement.

The template and guide below helps you to identify what could be added to each area of the A3 template.

Why we may choose to use this tool/ method?

An A3 is a visual tool to focus on:

  • What is the improvement you want to make?
  • What is the system to be improved?
  • Who will it involve?
  • When – the timeframe to accomplish the aim?
  • Where – all areas/one area?
  • Impact – specific measurable goals/targets?

How you might use this tool/ method?

The A3 can be used when generating ideas for improvement, these ideas may be to capture a project or initiative that has been identified as an area for improvement or they may arise from other improvement work.

An example could be that you have been asked to look at improving waiting times for a service. At the start of this work you would identify, at a high level, all of the various components of the A3 to help you identify the problem, what you are trying to achieve etc. You can then refine the A3 as you get more information and also to show progress as the project progresses. You can display the A3 on a wall or in an office to share information about the project. The A3 is a useful reporting tool as all the key elements are held on one piece of paper.

An A3 may be completed as a result of identifying potential ideas for improvement that have arisen from a brain storming session, using six hats or from mapping a process. Any ideas for improvements can be captured, and then used to prioritise and share with Sponsors. A process Owner will take an A3 and ‘own’ it to ensure it is updated and shared.

What next?

The A3 is a ‘living’ document so will be updated for the life of the improvement initiative. If the improvement is a big initiative it may be that the improvement is split into a number of improvement projects, in this case, as lower level improvements are identified, an A3 would be completed for each. Therefore one project may have a number of A3 improvement sheets linked to it.

When completing an A3 it may help to develop the aims section by using Aims statements and organising the initiatives that are associated with an improvement by using a Driver Diagram (see developing aims and driver diagram tools).

Examples/ case studies/ links to best practice/ evidence

Contact for further information

Karen McAllister – CLIC Programme Manager



Templates and visualisations: