Skip to main content

Starting Messy? Don’t Worry - Just Make Sure You Start!

Planning is central to the success of any continuous improvement project. A good plan, however, is not always terribly visible to those struggling to implement that improvement!
Just knowing how to get from A (problem needing solving) to B (implemented improvement), can make managing change a simpler and more effective endeavour. 

But what can you do when you just don’t know where to start?

When you are trying to coordinate the activities of numerous departments / individuals, to help get any given change made, a plan is absolutely essential. Sure, they can take time to create, but this is time well spent.

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy!”
― Brian Tracy (Canadian entrepreneur and author)

I agree with this quote. I have heard many a client complaining about having to take time and put resources into creating a plan. And then wax lyrical when that plan delivers desired results!

Actually, the time taken to develop a plan is usually less than you might think. Of course, larger (and more complex) projects take longer. A good plan will include all the steps required to get from today to the future state you wish to reach. Central to that is clarity: You know who is doing what, when they are doing it, and in what sequence.

But there isn't always time to sit down, do the research and write a plan. Time is pressured, people are pressured, a problem may be just so pressing, immediate and decisive action is needed.

I guess we've all been there!

Need to change but no obvious plan? I have worked with many businesses facing this dilemma. One short answer is Starting Messy. On various occasions, with numerous clients, I have found that by rolling our sleeves up and getting stuck in (a little bit at least), we were able to find most of the pieces of the puzzle.

A plan emerged!

One of my clients found that Starting Messy was an effective route to take. Their ERP improvement project wasn't coming together. Instead of moving forward there was just stagnation. Any plan put forward was incomplete and caused friction within the improvement team. 

When I discussed Starting Messy with the client, they were unsure. The level of intolerable results however made them give it a go. And lo and behold, our improvement plan emerged. We got to work on what needed to be done; the improvements followed.

There is another benefit to be gained from Starting Messy … Your team will be more effective as a result. 

Working your way out of a problem this way can do wonders for team development. The energy, the vibes, the positivity of people having to think quick, work quick, and – crucially – work together quick – can yield tremendous results. 

So there you have it, starting messy  - and finishing trim!

A final thought: How do you rate your business’s performance with regard to good, effective planning? This is a question all managers / decision makers should be asking themselves. And others! And often!



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

Popular posts from this blog

Want more time for your projects? Try the 'Hour of Pain'!

Do you find your day being broken up by interruptions, stopping you from getting on with your work?

Continuous improvement projects often fall foul of this. The day can become so inefficient through the constant stopping and starting that we only just seem to have enough time to get the 'day job' completed.

I was in a meeting last week where this same issue cropped up. It also cropped up today. It's nothing new, but it is still a pain in the rear!

So, let me share with you an approach that has worked for my clients - the 'Hour of Pain!'.

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? …

Free Continuous Improvement Guide

I have recently published a new free guide, with the title:
Six Quick Tips to Help Continuous Improvement Deliver Results Faster In the guide I share how to:
Use the continuous improvement cycle properly.Get projects moving, if they are slow to start or have stalled.Identify the 'biggest bang for your buck' when reviewing opportunities.Determine the level of change you need to achieve through your improvements.Flip staff grumbles and concerns into positive improvement actions.Increase the overall rate of progress on your projects. All of the tips are highly practical and are no-cost strategies.
To get your copy, just click on the button below and access the guide in just a few moments from now.



Enjoy reading,

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 i…