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

Stop firefighting, start performing!

Another weeks passes and another example of unnecessary fire fighting demonstrated by a business I have been to help. If you have this taking place in your business, let me ask you a few questions: 1. What keeps on happening? Regain control with this practical book Can you pin down what it is that you keep having to do, to get out of trouble? If you can't, is there a pattern you can observe? 2. Do you want it to stop? Is it causing you enough of a problem that you want it to stop? If the answer is yes, keep reading, if not park it for another day. 3. Find out what is going on Do you know why you are having this issue? If you aren't sure where the issue is arising from, then take a few minutes to have a look around. When you have some idea, go to the next step. 4. Cause and effect Do you know what is truly causing the fire fighting situation? If you spend the time to get to the root cause of the situation , you have a good chance of permanently eliminating this situation. Most p

Kaizen improvements need to be specific

Do you find that your Kaizen improvements don't always go to plan? If you do, then you're with the majority! Whilst there is great deal of 'trial and error' there is a simple approach that can help. Available from Amazon Being specific about critical parts of your improvement can uplift your results. So, how do you go about doing this? The most direct route is to be clear about which parts of your improvement are critical. From here you can explain, in detail, what you want for those items. This might take some practice as many of us have become lazy in this regard. We take it for granted that our team 'get us' and will know what they need to do. If you ever feel that something basic is missing from an improvement ask this question: "What does good look like?" The answer should put you back on track. About the author: Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes and

Are your teams clear?

I have recently finished working with a team that were struggling. They were struggling to meet their production schedules. They were struggling to respond to customer enquiries on time. They were burnt out and frazzled. After some prodding and poking it became clear what their issues were. In particular, it became obvious that expectations of the team weren't clear or defined. Defining what you expect from teams is a standard management approach. The problem with most teams is that leadership describe the standards in vague terms . So, what happens if you get the standards crystal clear? You should expect to see the team produce the right outputs. They should produce the outputs at the right time. And, they should produce them in an agreed way. Be clear with your teams. Ask the question: What does good look like? If you want to get some more ideas on how to define effective standards and visions, get your copy of my book today . What does good look like? is a practical guide to h