Lung Cancer Screening Improvement Collaborative
Mammography Positioning Improvement Collaborative
Prostate MR Image Quality Improvement Collaborative
Recommendations Follow-Up Improvement Collaborative

A3 Template


An A3 is a document traditionally prepared on a single 11 x 17 sheet of paper that fosters collaborative problem solving. As a term, A3 has been adopted by the improvement community and is now synonymous with a structured process for problem solving. It is often referred to as “A3 thinking”. 

The A3 serves as a guide for data-driven project management and includes opportunities to gain team consensus, coordinate with department staff and leaders, and communicate with critical stakeholders before advancing to the next step.  Each section of the A3 documents major project decisions in a clear and concise manner. It outlines what the team has learned and where they are headed next. By the end of the program, the A3 will contain your project’s entire story. 


How to Use

The A3 is divided into two sides the left and the right. The left side, which is an analysis of the current state and the right side, which contains the actions needed to solve the problem. The sections need to be completed in the order outlined below so that the problem is thoroughly understood before starting to brainstorm and test solutions. 

A3 image




  • Project Title: The name of your project.  A short summary of what you’re improving; this usually includes the project scope and direction.
  • Project Team: Identify project team members by role.  The project team is composed of experts in the process who understand the current state and can help test and refine solutions that solve your problem.

Left Side

  • Problem Statement: The problem statement is the foundation for the project.   It is important to make sure everyone is on the same page before getting started and it is important to check back in throughout the project to ensure the things that you are learning have not shifted the focus.  The problem statement is the problem you are trying to solve.  State “what”, not “Why” and not include a goal or implied solution.
  • Global Aim: The global aim is the statement that gives context to your project and connects it back to the bigger picture.  What is the value or mission that this project supports?
  • Target State: SMART Goal: Once you've collected and visualized baseline data, you can begin to identify a project goal.  Goals will be SMART- specific measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.  These goals are stated as “from what (based on the baseline data) to what (the specified goal) by when (the time to reach your goal).” 
  • Current State: Target / Actual / Gap.  In the current state section you will visualize your performance in a control chart and include a high level process map.  The control chart will be routinely updated throughout the project based on a defined frequency to appropriately evaluate performance.
  • Analysis: This section summarizes your findings from conducting an in-depth current state analysis. The analysis section may include a process map, a fishbone diagram and/or a pareto chart.   It is a high-level summary of the current state that highlights the root causes of the problem.  

Right Side

  • Key Drivers: The key drivers are 4-6 things that must happen consistently, or structures that should be in place, to accomplish the project goal.  Key drivers are based on the root causes identified in current state analysis and are stated as sub-goals.  The key drivers are not specific interventions.
  • Interventions: Interventions are the specific changes you will be making to your processes, systems or job duties that will result in the key drivers consistently occurring. To cultivate ideas for interventions your team will want to include process owners, department staff and end users in brainstorming. Front line staff outside of the project team will need to provide feedback and highlight valuable insights to help your team iterate ideas to create elegant, sustainable solutions.   In the lower right corner of the A3 there is a key with helpful markers that aids in communicating the testing and managing of interventions.
  • Sustain Plan: Once you have made measurable improvement in your data, you can outline a plan to sustain those improvements.  Responsibilities will be assigned to the appropriate process owners overseeing the new process to ensure performance gains are maintained.

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.