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A strategy to improve the flow of improvements

Do you have a long list of improvement opportunities that never seems to change?

Do you feel that the whole list is stuck and not delivering the benefits that are possible?

…if you feel the same then you are not alone!


When we have either large projects, or too many projects, the close out of the improvements can seem to be sluggish.

So, how about a strategy you can try out and see if you can get some traction with your improvements?

Split up the improvements into ‘packets’ that are no longer than two hours and then work on one packet at a time (as a team).

So:

  • If you have a bigger project there will be lots of packets.
  • Small projects might just be one packet.
  • You can mix in small projects between a larger project’s packets.
  • The team has one focus at any one time.


Our ability to handle, and deliver, multiple improvements at any one time on top of our normal day to day responsibilities is limited. When we go past this limit we often find that instead of making some progress we just get confused and make no progress.

A side benefit of the small packets approach I mention above is that your team will get the taste for closing out improvement projects because you will be winning on such a regular basis that it can become addictive!

And, why two hours? It is small enough to lose in the week (amongst your other obligations) and long enough to make a difference. This isn’t prescriptive though, experiment with different packet durations if you wish.

If your projects are stagnating then have fun with this approach and let me know how you get on with accelerating the rate of change in your business.

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 improvement toolkit.


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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…