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'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