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What's The Right Forum To Support Improvement?

When you review a high level process map of your business, or perform some kind of root cause analysis on problems you have you may find that you need to have a conversation with another department... about their performance.

There is nothing wrong with this. I'm sure that your customers will happily have this conversation with you and your department should the need arise.

The effectiveness of this conversation, however, is often affected by the location, the context of the conversation and the timing of the conversation. A little bit of preparation can save you a lot of hassle and delay if you need to have this conversation.

Then again there is another view on this issue.

  • Is there something that you are doing that needs to be reviewed first? 
  • Is there an action that you currently perform that leaves a degree of ambiguity in the process? 
  • Is there something that you aren't doing that might be causing this effect? 
  • Do you own a process that isn't tight enough and allows this observed performance to happen? 

You can build the conversation that you need to have into a structured process improvement approach. Rather than just pointing out mistakes and hoping that the other department suggest ideas to improve you could make sure that your process is 'squeaky clean' first and then invite the other department to take part in your improvement 'project'.

Reviewing the performance of a business process is critical to improving it. When you are involved with other departments to improve this performance choosing the right forum to have these discussions is also critical. You need to maintain working relationships as well as get results, thinking your approach through (for example inquisition versus process improvement) is essential.

Change can be a little painful at times, so let's try and make sure that we don't make it more painful than it needs to be by having the right conversation, with the right people, at the right time, conducted in the right manner.

Good luck!


Giles Johnston
...fixing MRP systems and re-engineering business processes