Skip to main content

Nail One Project At A Time

There is a great time management phrase, it says:

"Do Less Better"

I don't know if you subscribe to this approach, but I certainly try my best to do so.

It certainly holds very true when you are trying to improve your business. With so many day to day pressures already being upon us, our continuous improvement projects can just seem like unnecessary, unwanted, additional pressure.

This situation is then made more arduous and complicated by not having just one continuous improvement project / focus at a time but several. Have you been in the situation where you have numerous competing projects, for the the time that you just do not have? I know I have in the past, and I won't be the last.

I can see the frustration in my client's eyes when they just aren't making progress with any of their improvements. Not just one project is failing, they are all failing. I've tried to juggle several change projects plus my Operations Manager job in a past life and I simply did them all badly.

Like my clients I had to prioritise. Not just a ranking system, a single project to complete, forgetting the rest until the first one is done.

Clarity returns, progress is tangible and, if you chose wisely, you start to build up some capacity for properly tackling your other projects.

If your continuous improvement projects aren't going the way you had hoped then perhaps it is time to step back and see if you are doing less better, or if you are going around in circles trying to do everything at once.

Don't get worked up about which project to pick either. A quick review and your gut feel can work wonders. Just getting some progress can give you the momentum you need to tackle the remaining list of improvements you have currently identified.



Giles Johnston
Author of 'Effective Continuous Improvement'. Available on Kindle PDF and other formats.

Popular posts from this blog

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Continuous Improvement and the Five Legged Race

Many improvement projects need the buy in of several people before they can progress. Amongst these people there will be some that have a firm view of what needs to happen and are keen to make progress. Some of the people won't be sure and they will need more time. Other people might not be that interested and have other priorities they want to focus on.

None of this is wrong.

It is an observation of mine and one that I see repeat on a regular basis with the businesses that I come into contact with.

But, if we take the principle from the observation we have an interesting improvement strategy (one that I personally use when I get stuck with my client's improvement projects).

You might have worked out the approach from the title of this blog post, but it is analogous to a three-legged race (or four, five, nine...). If someone in the group moves in the wrong direction and / or at the wrong speed then the whole group falls over.


In the example I gave at the start it is no differe…

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…