Some of today’s most perplexing problems involve the need to improve processes. Around the globe, governmental organizations are struggling to make efficient use of scarce tax dollars in an environment of outdated, expensive and overly bureaucratic processes. Non-profit and corporate organizations are typically more nimble and capable of change-making, but are still challenged by the task of improving processes that involve numerous staff across various departments.
Successful process improvement demands the creative involvement of everyone, from start to finish. A well-defined and proven methodology is crucial to ensuring front line staff stay engaged and committed.
Other crucial elements to successful process improvement include:
- Working on the right problems. Collecting and analyzing good data is essential and time-consuming. Failure to confirm the right problem is being solved can lead teams to waste time and energy.
- Independent Implementation Facilitation. An objective facilitator from outside the immediate organization is crucial to ensuring input is gathered from all participants, and the process retains the support of various participants.
- Simplification. Simplified process flow-charts and other visual support tools help staff identify the most important challenges, fresh solutions and specific metrics to document process improvements.
- Quantitative Measurement. Process improvements should achieve measurable quality and efficiency results. By analyzing historical data, teams can identify key benchmarks to use in evaluating the impact of new solutions.
- Removing roadblocks to implementation. By answering the question, “What’s stopping us?” participants can anticipate and manage implementation challenges, and maintain enthusiasm and commitment to the chosen solution.