Skip to main content

'And then...?' - What a good question for developing improvement plans

Just like the use of the '5 Why' technique can make a massive difference when undertaking root cause problem solving (when you keep pushing with the questioning), asking 'and then...?' is a really good question when it comes to drawing out the steps of an improvement plan.

And then....?

Knowing the final steps of an improvement plan is essential to getting the change to take hold. If you don't know the last few steps a good idea to improve the business can get lost and the benefits are at risk of materialising.

A couple of quick examples:


  • The business that was installing some new equipment realised that they needed to write their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and develop their maintenance programme.



  • The business that was changing their administrative processes realised that after up issuing their documents they needed to provide training at different levels, and at different depths, for their staff.


The examples might seem obvious to you and I, but when we are busy with our existing work obligations we sometimes need reminding of the need for common sense!

Next time you are developing your action plans, imagine that you are completing the tasks and ask the question 'and then...?' a few times and see if you add a few powerful final steps to your plan.


Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering

Popular posts from this blog

The Kaizen Checklist is here!

Do you want to get better results from your Kaizen programme? Improve your business results quickly with my downloadable kit (including guidebook, workbook and templates) for only $39. Are you looking for a sustainable way to identify and implement improvements across your business? Practical improvement strategies The Kaizen Checklist is a downloadable kit that you can use with your management team to develop a system that suits your business and allow you to quickly implement Kaizen effectively at your place of work. This works great if you use it as the centre piece of your own internal workshop. The kit includes a 40 page guidebook, a workbook, four appendices and three templates. All parts of this kit are designed to get you up and running as fast as possible. If you are unfamiliar with Kaizen, let me stress that this is a simple improvement philosophy that is so much more than just  ‘a Japanese word for continuous improvement’. I’ll cover what it rea

Kamishibai Boards

Available to purchase here. Some tools are incredibly simple to use, and also deliver some amazing results. Kamishibai boards are a great example and are superb when you want some visual control over routine tasks. By the way Kamishibai is pronounced "come-e-she-bye" in case you were wondering! As simple as you could want it, a Kamishibai board is a T-card system that has red cards glued to green cards (so that each T-card has a red side and a green side). The red cards are for the incomplete tasks, where as the green cards symbolise that the work has been done. See the photo below of a board in use. On the red side of the card you write the name of the task that needs to be completed, and if appropriate you can include details of how the task is to be completed. This is not expected to replace standard operating procedures, but can be a good opportunity for an aide memoire. The boards can be organised for daily, weekly and even monthly cycles. They are g

Have you got the right improvement behaviours in your business?

I have heard many business owners over the year complain that change is pitiful within their business. Is this how you feel? I have seen this many times before; that the wrong behaviours get reinforced within these businesses. Their culture simply isn't helping. So, how do you change a culture like this? There are many books written on the topic of culture and changing cultures, but let me offer some of my observations. Getting better is OK Standing still isn't great. Reaching perfection is unlikely. Gaining confidence is great. So why not take some pressure off yourselves and realise that moving in the right direction is good enough at the start of a culture change? Great solutions can be developed by learning There can be so much pressure on people to come up with good improvement ideas. If they aren't used to generating them, this can be a difficult exercise and a lack of confidence doesn't help. Talking with others (especially the boss), without expectation, and gai