Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rethinking the Process for Improvement

Over at the Reforming Project Management blog, Hal has reviewed Ric Merrifield's Time to Reth!nk Improvement.

Quote from book: “Never has there been a more important time to continually improve your company's efficiency and productivity. (F)or that to happen, they are going to have to avoid the ‘how’ trap, rethink and focus on their ‘whats,’ and become a collection of plug-and-play operations.”

Last year author Ric and co-authors Jack Calhoun and Dennis Stevens published a paper called “The Next Revolution in Productivity.” Hal boils the process down like this:

  • 1. Describe your operations in terms of desired outcomes (the whats, or “conditions of satisfaction” in Hal’s lingo – you know, what are we committing to deliver to the customer – or, what’s the goal in other parlance)
  • 2. Identify the activities supporting the desired outcomes (in other circles, this could be like the plan)
  • 3. Identify the capabilities supporting each of your activities (or the resources required for each step in the plan)
  • 4. Identify activities most critical to your project’s success (are these the drop-dead requirements? or critical path analysis?)
  • 5. Design a more efficient operating model (re-think!)

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