Pilot Plan

The Tool and Why It’s Valuable

A pilot or test can serve as a trial run for your potential solution and can help determine if any adjustments are needed. There are four primary advantages of piloting or testing your improvement:

  1. Limit capital and other resource expenditures (managing risk)
  2. Assess true performance of design and/or solutions in a controlled but “live” environment
  3. Identify additional improvements
  4. Identify implementation tips and traps

How to Apply It

  1. Use the pilot checklist to help you plan your pilot or test.
  2. Involve the people who will be performing the pilot in your planning, clearly communicating the goals, the approach, and the requirements for data collection, etc.
  3. Implement according to your plan and adjust as needed (remember the purpose of the pilot is to work out the kinks prior to a full deployment)
  4. Use information learned from the test or pilot to make improvements prior to the full deployment.
Pearls and Pitfalls
  • Failure to test or pilot your improvements prior to a larger deployment may result in project failure. defeats a key purpose of the pilot.
  • Ensure you have a feedback mechanism for pilot or test participants Without consistent, reliable data collection it will be difficult to gauge the success of your improvements.
  • The duration of pilot typically depends upon process volume. For example, a process with 50 units per month can be piloted in one a month, whereas a process that has only 4 units per month may require 3 months pilot.

Pilot Plan Template

Use the following template to help you develop your pilot plan.


What's being piloted/tested?

What are you trying to determine or prove?


Who will participate in the pilot/test?

Numerical Results

Historical Performance
Pilot/Test Performance

Narrative Results

Briefly describe the results of the pilot test (e.g. outcomes, was there an improvement, etc.).


For a successful pilot remember to use your:

  • Standard Work to relay instructions,
  • Communication Plan to ensure all participants know what is expected of them, and
  • After Action Review to document what went well and what you can do to improve further pilots

Measuring Success

  • What do you expect will happen & which measures will inform if the pilot/test is successful?
  • Who will capture the data & how?
  • How frequently will data be captured/reported?

Lesson Learned

Briefly describe what areas need to be improved and the actions needed to implement those improvements.

The purpose of testing is not to punish, but to expose issues to be fixed. A test is only a failure if issues are not corrected.