3 Questions to Drive Process Improvement

Exercise in process improvement

Teams are continuously challenged to work smarter and faster.

This often requires process reviews and adjustments. When raising the need for process improvements, teams often fear drawn out and frustrating meetings.

This exercise provides a quick and effective way to guide teams to identify problems and gaps in your existing process. Bring your project team together for this activity. Ask them to raise issues that are constant stumbling blocks that result in errors or delays.

Focus the discussion on three key questions and guide the team to propose the improvements that they need, to operate their projects more effectively.

Where are we lacking process?

These will typically be in areas where issues come up as a surprise. If problems come out of nowhere, there is typically no provision on how to handle the situation in question. Alternatively there could be gaps because roles are not well defined.

What process aspects are not robust?

In this category we see repeat errors or gaps. You might see problems when new people join the team and suddenly things that previously worked seem to fall apart. Other failure points could be triggered through new and different project parameters (scope, complexity, partners etc.). We also see frequent issues when hand off points are poorly defined.

Which processes has become obsolete?

Are there aspects of the process that are no longer needed? Perhaps these are hold overs from past teams that is no longer required. If it’s not clear why tasks are performed, there is a good chance that they have become obsolete.

Most likely you will come up with a list of changes that is longer than you are prepared to handle. Prioritize the list and limit the changes, so that your team can easily work the new process into their day to day operations without losing momentum.

Keep it simple to start, you can revisit this process in a few weeks or months again and make additional changes. Confirm all planned changes do not conflict with any stakeholders, whether it’s a functional manager, a remote team, a supplier or anyone else.

As the team works through the new changes, be available to support and unblock them as necessary. By observing the adaptation of new process, you can gage how much change the team can absorb, so that you can plan the next set of process adjustments accordingly.

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