How many continuous improvement projects can you handle at once?

When we get motivated by the process of change and start finding continuous improvement opportunities for our business it can actually become a challenge to make progress.

The temptation for many is to start a wide range of projects because we want all of the potential benefits today... right now!

But, in these situations, we can prevent making progress by diffusing our focus.

If you are currently in this position, how can you start to see some progress very quickly?
The answer for many of us comes as three words:
  1. Limit
  2. Mix
  3. Priority

Doing less better?
'Doing less better' is a phrase I like to keep in my mind when working with clients. The desire to radically change a business and see all of the benefits today is one that needs to be tempered (only a little bit mind you) so that progress can happen.

Capping the number of projects you (and your team) will actively engage with is the first consideration.

How many projects can you really undertake at any one time, especially when you consider your other day-to-day responsibilities?

One, three, six, ten?

Most of my clients find that between three and six is realistic, if the mix of projects is right for them.

Get the mix of projects right
By mix I mean that the projects will likely be a combination of:
  • Small projects that don't need to take up much time.
  • Longer, more engaging, projects that involve wider parts of the business.
  • Facilitated activities, where you are tracking tasks other people need to complete for you.
These different types of projects can usually nest themselves quite well, so whilst one project is waiting for a next step (if it has to!) the next project can be pushed along.

And this brings me to my final word - priority.

In the true sense of the word, what is the most important improvement project you need to undertake right now? By answering this question you can order your improvement opportunities so that you can organise them into the few top projects that will give you the right mix that you can actually focus on.

And, do you want to know my recommendation if you still feel like you won't make progress?

What is your number one improvement?
Pick one and don't worry too much about the science of whether this is the optimal project for your business. Hammer the project quickly by having all of your focus on this one item and then move onto the next project.

If you are really worried about working on the 'right' project then refine your selection method for the next project!

Action is what counts in most businesses and most of us know, either intuitively or factually, what is the most important improvement our business needs to undertake right now.

The real outcome of doing an exercise like the one above is to form the habits, speed and attitude of making change happen in your business.

I admit that transforming a business' performance can be quite addictive. As long as that addiction can be managed you can do some amazing things.

Have fun with your improvements,

Giles



Continuous Improvement Software


If you want a simple and practical software tool to help you identify, manage and implement the changes that are taking place in your business then check out StreamLiner.

Designed using Lean improvement approaches, StreamLiner can help you capture the improvement opportunities hidden within your business.

Beyond the ready to use templates is the powerful action management function built into the software. Instead of having lots of paper plans stuck to walls, or project plans lost on hard drives, StreamLiner allows you to manage all of your improvement actions from an easy to use console.

To find out more, and to buy, visit the sales page.