Continuous improvement is compiled of a series of projects making improvement project tracking crucial. Continuous improvement leaders typically start off with one project which they bring along to training. When those projects are midway through the Analyses phase they can be given their next project. Because Continuous Improvement Experts (CIE) are full-time involved in managing their projects, it can be expected that they will progress quickly through their projects than Continuous Improvement Practitioners (CIP) even though the magnitude of their projects may be larger.
Once the CIE has closed their first project and is well on their way with the second they can be given an additional two projects. Once past the initial learning phase, CIE’s should be capable of running four projects comfortably. Each project should receive the appropriate amount of support and mentor from the leadership team.
In year two of the Continuous Improvement stint, CIE’s should be allocated CIP to mentor and coach. Project reviews will still be undertaken by the CIP but with the CIE now participating in the review sessions.
Improvement Project Tracking System
At this point, Continuous Improvement is the primary initiative implemented within the company with the objective of significantly improving results. These results need to be tracked with an improvement project tracking system. As such various levels within an organization need to have access to Continuous Improvement related status information.
One of the key elements of a successful implementation includes some sort of implementation and project tracking mechanism. This could be a proprietary system or one taken off the shelf.
To promote the adoption of an improvement project tracking system, an important consideration is that it is user friendly, fast and simple to use.
Key features of an improvement project tracking system are:
- Accessibility: every stakeholder should have access to such a system with appropriate visibility controls.
- Dashboard: At the highest level the system should roll up all Continuous Improvement activities into a dashboard that indicates:
- Total benefits (hard savings / growth) achieved by period
- Total number of projects underway and their promised benefits
- Average project cycle time by category.
- Number of resources implemented into Continuous Improvement
- Number of individuals trained in Continuous Improvement and at what level
- Project Tracker: The system should accommodate Improvement Project Leaders to log the projects. It should house a complete project charter. As Improvement Project Leaders progress through the project they should log current status and benefits realized.
- Repository: In order to promote a learning organization and facilitate replication of best practices, particularly with multi-site organizations, the system should allow Improvement Project Leaders to attach project documents, presentations and worksheets.
Other considerations when implementing a continuous improvement tracking system include:
- Allocating a unique project number to each project.
- Including a demographic section e.g. project categories etc. in order to facilitate analysis and reporting of the Continuous Improvement initiative.
- The system can include alerts notifying Improvement Project Leaders or team members of actions to be taken or areas requiring attention e.g. timelines being transgressed
- The more visual and graphical the easier for users to gain a quick view of the current state of affairs.
- Naturally from the dashboard view, users should be able to drill down for details.
- Many systems contain project management features including email invites to meetings etc.
Although this has been a relatively short section, it is one of the keys to ensuring visibility of the Continuous Improvement efforts that lead to success. Remember the old adage “what gets measured gets done”.
In the next secret to winning with Continuous Improvement, we will explore replicating and maintaining momentum.
Back to the introductory article to this series Implementing A Winning Continuous Improvement Program
Back to the introductory article Implementing A Winning Continuous Improvement Program
Back to the previous article Continuous Improvement Knowledge Transfer