The fourth critical planning step is ‘process excellence execution’ and follows on from the ‘definition’ step. Although it is the start of process excellence execution it still forms part of the planning step as it addresses the correct application of process excellence methodologies and utilization of the right resources from the get-go. It is well known in business that a bit of planning upfront pays handsome dividends in the long run.
By way of summary, the three proceeding planning steps prior to process excellence execution are:
- The first step was to identify process excellence opportunities without premature biased filtering. That is, to gather all possible opportunities irrespective of perceived magnitude in an attempt to avoid missing a key opportunity.
- The second step was to set up a prioritization and selection mechanism to nullify biased selection that could lead to wasted efforts and poor results.
- The third step was to clearly define measurable objectives and the scope of selected opportunities. This aids in keeping the project teams clearly focussed and significantly increase probability of success.
- This fourth step ensures the opportunity team is correctly resourced and that the appropriate methodology is used to address the opportunity most effectively and efficiently.
Much has been written by various authors on the topic of challenges experienced when implementing process excellence. It is the firm experience of profitableprocesses.com that most implementations are frustrated by poor application of the above four steps.
The benefits of diligently, but with agility, working through these four-step result in:
- Organization wide and leadership commitment as the right issues are addressed.
- Sustainable results that ‘stick’ to the bottom line.
- Faster delivery off opportunityies.
- No wasted resources chasing iffy opportunities without support.
- Increased motivation throughout the organization as process excellence opportunity efforts have a positive impact for all stakeholders. And as the old adage goes “success breads success”.
Process Excellence Execution - Methodology
Let us take a closer look at the final step of the planning phase and the first step of execution, process excellence execution. And in more particular, process excellence methodology and resource selection.
Not all selected opportunities are created equal. That is, each opportunity has its own set of specific backgrounds and issues that need addressing. The danger lies in trying to address each opportunity with a one-size-fits-all standardized approach. To use a metaphor, this often leads to using a sledgehammer where a small hammer more than suffices.
Opportunity types vary from just needing basic project management to implement through to heavyweight analyses tools to clearly identify the root cause/factors before developing solutions for implementation.
Factors that determine the correct methodology include (1) the complexity of the opportunity, (2) the span across the organization, and (3) its value promise to the organization.
Opportunities typically fall into two first-tier categories, Innovation or Improvement. When an opportunity can not be addressed through the organization’s existing processes, it is most likely requires the application of an innovation methodology.
Improvement opportunities typically lie within an organization’s existing processes. Depending on how well the opportunity is understood will determine if a basic project management methodology, a solution development only methodology, a predominantly LEAN, or a predominantly Six Sigma methodology is required.
The flow chart above provides a decision tree flow chart to assist you in determining what the best methodology would be for your process excellence execution of a particular opportunity.
Process Excellence Execution - Resourcing
Once a methodology for an opportunity is clear, resources that have the required skills to lead its execution can be selected.
Execution resources may vary from in-process employees with basic project management or problem-solving skills, to highly qualified Lean Six Sigma Masters to address highly complex, widely spanned, and high benefit opportunities that may require more sophisticated analysis.
Process Excellence Execution - Leadership Role
With the method decided and the resources in place, leaders are well prepared to champion the process excellence execution of a portfolio of opportunities.
It is the task of leaders, often referred to as champions or sponsors once the opportunity is underway as a project. Key leadership execution tasks include:
- The four steps discussed above.
- Ongoing reviews of projects and particularly at ‘gate’ reviews, that is project reviews at critical stages in a methodology.
- Linking opportunity work to performance management systems.
- Remove roadblocks the opportunity team may encounter.
- Support ‘workout’ events when required.
- Report status progress to the leadership of the organization.
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