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Showing posts from September, 2008

The value of a day

Days pass so quickly and I'm sure that most of us have experienced the feeling when we realise that months have passed by and memories are a blur.

But how valuable were those days to our business?

From a lean perspective we can either spend our time on value adding activities, or on wasteful activities.

Let me clarify - there are two types of waste:
1 - Things that just shouldn't be done (non-essential waste) and should be eliminated
2 - Things that must be done, but we don't get paid for doing them (essential waste) and should be minimised

For example:

Value adding activities - doing the fundamental work that our client pays us for
Essential waste - strategic planning, HR, accounts, system development
Non-essential waste - re-working documents, waiting, taking longer than necessary

It is worth asking yourself from time to time - 'how valuable is this work that I am doing?' By understanding the payback that the work gives to the business we can craft better uses of our time …

What's the current ROI?

When working on an improvement project it's recognised that we should know where we are in terms of becoming better off.

Many times however it is apparent that the measures that would tell us how things are going are not in place. Agreeing what these measures are and how to record the right information is a skill that can make a huge difference to the business.

More interesting than this is the fact that most organisations only measure external factors - which aren't always in our control. When you look at the business processes in terms of the internal and external measures you can develop a far more complete approach to managing performance.

Review your performance indicators and see if you have got a good mix of external and internal measures.

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
'For When Results Matter'http://www.smartspeed.co.uk

Is progress tangible?

When a project is progressing along isn't it always nice to be able to see how it is going?

How many times have you been on a project and you are not sure how it is really going?

The use of milestones and agreed communication is a great way to get a project off to a great start. This can even be extended permanently into the processes of a business to understand the continual benefits being derived.

Milestones are an interesting tool. When someone asks how a project is going it is often easy to say 'yeah - OK', when the real answer is 'we are behind schedule on part X, but three weeks ahead on part Y... we need help'.

The benefit of using a milestone is having the 'go no-go' conversation. It either is, or isn't on track at that agreed point in time. The deviation from that point then can be assessed as to what needs to happen.

Agreeing communication routes / methods for the project and the milestones can help to understand how tangible progress really is.

Wha…