Skip to main content

Where Do You Start Process Improvement?

I was doing some work today with a team who were trying to work out how to improve their business' processes.

There was a lot of debate about where they should start this conversation.

I let them carry on for a few minutes, and then decided to pull them back into the conversation that we needed to have.


I drew their attention to the process maps that their business already had and their quality processes that backed up this information. Thankfully I had done my homework prior to this meeting!

A number of the team looked blankly as I showed them their documents, it was if they hadn't seen them before. Actually it turned out that they really hadn't seen them before, but I'll leave that for another blog post!

The point of this post, and the point of that meeting, was that process improvement should only start from scratch if you have nothing to work with. Instead of re-inventing the wheel every time you embark on process improvement you have the opportunity to get your last piece of work / last reference point and build up from that point.

And, if you have twigged this already good for you, this is part of the simplicity and power of PDCA (Plan - Do - Check - Act). When you complete a process improvement activity you need to lock it down in the business; update your process charts, re-write your procedures, update your SOPs, change the visual management boards, change your skills matrix etc...

You do this, of course, so that next time you re-visit a business process you have a nice neat place to start the conversation from.

So, where do you start your process improvement conversations?


Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering

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…