Monday, 14 December 2015

Starting the Improvement Engine

 “If you can’t do something right than it’s not worth doing” was something a stern professor had told me early in my college career. With this sage advice in front of mind, I dropped his class identifying that this method of leaning might not work out well for me in the long run. The trouble is that this mode of thought makes it way into everyday activities as well as how we operate to support our business, and in some cases we end up doing nothing. We have the “we would rather not fail, so we won’t try” mentality.

On the flipside I also had another professor who had a different perspective on the similar subject. His philosophy was “…that you will get nowhere until you take the first step”. Which was a completely opposite thought process from the other professor. The key, he outlined, was that while you get the ball rolling you also need to learn from what you either didn’t get right or what you might have missed.

We need to come to terms with the fact that we won’t get it perfect and how we will manage what is not.

This is where CSI (Continual Service Improvement) comes into play. While we may not get everything perfect we need to understand how the things we are working with impact the business objective that they support. After all if the improvements or work don’t support the business goals they are already going to be fighting for scraps at the bottom.

The next things to consider are what we are currently doing and where we want to get. This will likely involve some amount of reporting and communication on what we want to achieve. This type of gap analysis will give you a good sense of what will be involved in achieving the improvements you have identified in this step.

The key here is to keep this as manageable as possible. In my opinion I find building this into a routine works best for me. I will schedule the reporting on an activity or process from a months’ worth of data from the 15th to 15th. I do this so that any findings I have can be figured out and will accompany any month end management reports. For me this kills two birds with one stone.

This reporting will let me see if we still have gaps in the improvement initiative as well as whether we are achieving the goals we had set out in the beginning.

Overall you need to have transparency and inclusion of all stakeholders. This is where we may have some challenges. We WANT to have things perfect and we may have issue with showing any imperfections that may make us look as though we aren’t perfect. However if we look at this from the perspective of we have a strategy for handling the challenges that come our way, and support from all teams who are impacted we will be able to manage all imperfections that we come across and improve service delivery.

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