After the third step of executing your new plan to improve your processes, where do you end up? Quality. Quality is the outcome and the process is how you improve.
There are two important pillars (in addition to the 3 steps above) that are also key to understanding process improvement: documentation (steps 1 through 3) and measurement (continuously).
You must *document* the way you currently do things in order to know how you can improve upon it.
Which brings me to the statistic above. It blew my mind. Of the companies who document processes, only 4% – a very small fraction of them – actually follow through and measure their own success!
Organizationally, skipping over these steps can be a huge problem. Take the Mars Orbiter for example. (Yes, I’m taking this example into outer space.)
The Mars Climate Orbiter was supposed to orbit Mars at a height of 226km – and was structured to withstand a minimum altitude of 80km. Typically, without needing to be a rocket scientist, those numbers indicate that the orbiter should have had a healthy margin of error.
Instead, it disintegrated…
Why? Unit conversion!
(Yes, really.) Despite NASA’s research and genius, their workflow processes never included a step to make sure everyone’s units were imperial or metric. This lack of documentation ended up costing more than $193 million dollars plus a ridiculous amount of manpower.
That’s one very expensive, very avoidable mistake.
Now, on an individual level, think about your own workflow on a day to day basis.
You might be someone who knows what your doing and have it down to an art. However, have you (a) documented what you do or (b) ever measured your own success?
If you skip documenting your own processes, you can make (avoidable) mistakes for not fine-tuning your own details. Or worse, you could be taking an unnecessary amount of steps to reach the same outcome and not know you’re wasting time until you write down what you’re actually doing.
If you’re not measuring your own processes, even on an individual level, how on Earth (or in outer space) can you possibly improve?
Hint: It simply cannot be done.
For private support improving your own workflow, I would love to hear from you. Simply reach out and let us know.