What are the key attributes for successful process improvement efforts?

What are the key attributes for successful process improvement efforts?

April 3, 2014 10:54 am 0 comments

My work over the years in process management has enabled me to identify a number of key attributes that contribute to successful process improvement efforts. I have grouped these into the following categories:

Strategy and Focus

This is the key to selecting the right processes for improvement. Organisations have limited resources and need to be focusing on those process areas that will provide the most value to the organisation. Most of these should be customer focused. The focus of process improvement efforts should be driven by and aligned with the organisation’s overall strategy.

Structure

A structure is needed to provide the support and approaches to enable your process improvement efforts. Process improvement efforts require the appropriate support structures (process owners; process teams etc) and a consistent approach or methodology; without these, it is difficult to sustain ongoing improvements.

Training and Employee Involvement

Your employees need to be involved and engaged to improve a process. They know how the process works, what the issues are, and have a good idea how it could be improved. Process improvement is new to most people so they need to be trained.

Communication

Employees at all levels need to know why you are improving processes, and the results of those efforts. Communication is pivotal before, during and after the efforts. Everyone is trying to determine the impact on them (WIIFM), their department and the organisation.

Impact

You need to measure the impact of your process improvement efforts; it is critical to show that the project:

• Improved quality

• Reduced cost

• Reduced cycle time

• Improved customer satisfaction

• A combination of the above

Measures

As processes are understood and improved, ongoing measures need to be put into place to provide for the ongoing management of processes. Measures tell the organisation how processes are performing and where future improvements need to be focused.

I have found that in my work that these attributes provide a way for organisations to assess their process improvement efforts. The value of knowing how well process improvement is deployed in an organisation has led us to develop a new quick assessment just for Process Improvement. Please take the time to try our FREE five minute Process Improvement or Process Based Management quick assessments and find out for yourself how Ascent Management can help improve your business’ performance.

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