Retrospectives: Muda, Muri and Mura

The idea for this retrospective was initially put forward by one of my managers. He suggested that a variation on Value Stream Mapping combined with Muda, Muri and Mura could potentially be a way to enable the team to look at our work from a different perspective. The overall aim of the session was to identify waste in our process. We can then focus on eliminating this waste in the future and hopefully reduce the time between initial idea and it going into production (lead time).

Muda, Muri, Mura (MMM) is one of the philosophies behind the Toyota production system ( As the Toyota blog tells us – MMM “work in tandem to eliminate waste”. Muda is a non-value adding activity, Muri means to overburden and Mura includes unevenness.

To start off the session I began by explaining MMM. I expected these ideas to be difficult to explain however it proved much easier than I imagined and the team members understood the concepts without any difficulty.

The next step was to create a stream map of our process. The idea is to understand what steps are required to put an idea into production.


We then mapped this onto a board.


The next step was a brainstorming step where the team members gathered together items which belong to each of the MMM categories. We had different coloured sticky notes for each category. The team members then took turns to put their items onto the board.

The team then grouped the items into themes.

They then voted on the theme they would most like to chat about and we managed to boil these down into several actions.

As an extension to the normal retrospective I then gathered all the data from the session. We plan to group this data with other teams who are carrying out similar sessions. This will enable us to identify any common problems which may be afflicting the teams across the organisation. We can then focus on these as areas which will bring greatest improvement to our lead time.


Overall I felt this session went well. I initially thought that the concept of MMM might be difficult to get across however the teams didn’t appear to have much a problem with this.

We had booked the meeting room for 1 hour and I expected us to complete the session within that time frame. This proved to be too ambitious and I would recommend booking this session for 2 hours.

Helping the team to focus on the entire process from the very conception of the idea until it goes into production adds a significantly different angle to the usual retrospective. I am quite confident that by working with the other teams to identify common issues we can start to have an impact on the lead time of our ideas.