There are many continuous improvement projects that get broken down into stages, whether we realise this or not.
The key to appreciating this is to think through the work you are doing now and understanding what you will have to do next. Very rarely is the first stage (or activity) the only stage.
For example, if you are implementing a lean improvement approach and are deploying a toolkit, what happens next? Do you have to restructure people's time to be able to use the tools? Do you have to adjust the supervisory roles so that they can support the approach?
Thinking through the improvement project and asking yourself 'what happens next?' can help you to imagine what the subsequent stages are.
Just like the new piece of machinery that is installed there is usually planned maintenance to define, SOPs to write, training to deliver, commissioning to complete etc...
If you are planning improvement projects then please think through the subsequent stages to make sure that you have all the bases covered. If you do, your projects will run far smoother than those that don't.
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.