Skip to main content

A strategy to improve the flow of improvements

Do you have a long list of improvement opportunities that never seems to change?

Do you feel that the whole list is stuck and not delivering the benefits that are possible?

…if you feel the same then you are not alone!


When we have either large projects, or too many projects, the close out of the improvements can seem to be sluggish.

So, how about a strategy you can try out and see if you can get some traction with your improvements?

Split up the improvements into ‘packets’ that are no longer than two hours and then work on one packet at a time (as a team).

So:

  • If you have a bigger project there will be lots of packets.
  • Small projects might just be one packet.
  • You can mix in small projects between a larger project’s packets.
  • The team has one focus at any one time.


Our ability to handle, and deliver, multiple improvements at any one time on top of our normal day to day responsibilities is limited. When we go past this limit we often find that instead of making some progress we just get confused and make no progress.

A side benefit of the small packets approach I mention above is that your team will get the taste for closing out improvement projects because you will be winning on such a regular basis that it can become addictive!

And, why two hours? It is small enough to lose in the week (amongst your other obligations) and long enough to make a difference. This isn’t prescriptive though, experiment with different packet durations if you wish.

If your projects are stagnating then have fun with this approach and let me know how you get on with accelerating the rate of change in your business.

Giles




About the author
Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes.
Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.


Do you want more strategies like this?
Find out more here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Kamishibai Boards

Some tools are incredibly simple to use, and also deliver some amazing results. Kamishibai boards are a great example and are superb when you want some visual control over routine tasks. By the way Kamishibai is pronounced "come-e-she-bye" in case you were wondering!
As simple as you could want it, a Kamishibai board is a T-card system that has red cards glued to green
cards (so that each T-card has a red side and a green side). The red cards are for the incomplete tasks, where as the green cards symbolise that the work has been done. See the photo below of a board in use.
On the red side of the card you write the name of the task that needs to be completed, and if appropriate you can include details of how the task is to be completed. This is not expected to replace standard operating procedures, but can be a good opportunity for an aide memoire.
The boards can be organised for daily, weekly and even monthly cycles. They are great as part of a 5S implementation (the Susta…

Do You Put Enough Effort Into Changing How Your Business Works?

If you're reading this blog post it is a fair guess that you are looking to improve how your business works. So, what do you think about the question I have posed as the title of this article?
The reality is that if you could make a change happen with the same amount of effort that you current expend in your business changes would be happening left, right and centre. If you want to make a change stick in your business you need to increase your levels of effort temporarily. Without this increase in effort it is unlikely that the change you want will take place and sustain.
I recall when I worked as a Production Manager and the OTIF (On Time In Full) performance of our business was certainly not where it needed to be. For years the business had struggled to raise its level of performance; no additional effort had been expended. I planned out sixteen small improvement projects to address this and I got started with the changes. It was hard work at times and the work was on top of my…

Seeing the Improvement Wood for the Chaos Trees!

How are you feeling about your business the moment?

Are you feeling frustrated and irritated by the apparent lack of progress being made with your improvements?

If you answer ‘yes’ to this second question, don’t worry, you are not alone!

We all feel this way at times and the reason I am writing this article is that if you feel this way right now then I want to reassure you that there is a simple way to get out of this situation. I have been in this situation many times in both my operational life and as a consultant. It is normal and taking a deep breath and stepping back from the noise of the day-to-day is essential.

Let me take you through the three quick steps of Stopping, Assessing and Acting.


Take stock of where you are right now

In order for us to step back and try and see some of the ‘improvement wood’ as I refer to in the title of this article we need to have a simple question to focus our attention. A question I recommend that you ask is:

“Do our current processes suit the need…