Process improvement is identifying, analyzing, and improving existing business processes to optimize performance, meet best practice standards or simply improve quality and the user experience for customers and end-users. More widely recognized as a continual improvement process: an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes.
While process improvement can be broken down into three main steps (Identify, Analyze, and Improve), documentation, and measurement (benefit vs. cost) are also significant.
Start by documenting the current process, including the benefit or cost of it. By documenting how you currently do things and the benefit or cost associated, you can see how you can improve upon them.
Determine the effect of making (or not making) any changes to the current process. Remember to document your findings as this will help when assessing whether a process change resulted in a benefit or an added cost.
As process improvements are made, continue to document the process and actual benefit or cost associated with the change. This now becomes your starting point for continual process improvement.
Organizationally, skipping over these steps can be a huge problem. An example from the late 1990’s was NASA’s Mars Climate Orbiter. The Orbiter was designed to study Mars from orbit and to serve as a communications relay for the Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space probes. The mission was unsuccessful due to a navigation error caused by a failure to translate English units to metric.
On an individual level, think about your workflow on a day to day basis. You might be someone who knows what you are doing and have it down to an art. However, have you (a) documented what you do or (b) ever measured your success? If you skip documenting your processes, you can make mistakes. Or worse, you could be taking an unnecessary number of steps to reach the same outcome and not realize you’re wasting time.
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If you or your team need help to identify obstacles and challenges in your workplace situation, contact Theresa, or visit our Contact Us page to schedule a 30-minute Complimentary Conversation. Reaching a goal is a journey, and Success Trek is here to take that journey alongside you.