You've Got to have Heart...
A Process Improvement Methodology

The heart of any business process improvement effort is a process improvement methodology. A structured methodology is critical to the success of any effort to translate quality improvement theory into practical action.

This is the "Number 1" Tool in your Process Improvement Tool Box!

Most process improvement methodologies attempt to implement the PDSA cycle. They differ primarily in how they translate the continuous improvement cycle into a practical approach.

A typical process improvement methodology consists of six to eight basic steps.

Process Improvement is based on PDSA Cycle

8-Step Method

I like to use this 8-Step methodology, because it highlights the importance of effective project management to the success of the project.

1. Charter Process Improvement Project
2. Scope Process
3. Analyze Process
4. Redesign Process
5. Charter Implementation Project
6. Plan Implementation Projects
7. Manage Implementation Projects
8. Monitor process

It also emphasizes the importance of re-contracting with project sponsors once the redesign phase has been completed.

Sponsors frequently need to understand the resource commitments a project requires before authorizing the implementation phase of the PI Project.

The 8-Step Methodology is Scalable

This 8-Step methodology is scalable. You can add components to it or subtract activities from it, based on your specific project requirements.

Scalable Process Improvement Methodology

Since process improvement projects can vary in size, you need a methodology that is flexible and adaptable. This process improvement methodology can be used to tweak a process with a small problem or it can be used in a complex reengineering project.

Check out the various approaches to process improvement workshops and how the 8-Step methodology can be tailored to meet specific needs.

Process Improvement Projects Come in Different Sizes

Process Reengineering involves wiping out the current process and creating a brand new one from the ground up.

Process Redesign projects are a little smaller in scope and involve maintaining the basic framework of the process while improving significant components. Sometimes, there is a fine line between process redesign and reengineering projects. Stellar results are possible in a process redesign project.

A Quick-Hit or Quick-Fix is a process tweak or small change to process to fix a targeted problem.

This basic methodology, with a few modifications, can be used to improve processes of various sizes and scopes, from the largest reengineering project to a small quick-hit fix.

Process Improvement Workshops

I recommend the use of intensive workshops in all process improvement projects. These workshops should include representatives of all the functional areas involved in the process. Check out Process Improvement Workshops for more information.

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