The Most Common Misconception About Process Improvements

Mike Girdler

A process improvements ‘Quick-Hitter’ workshop in 3-5 days! One question that I am frequently asked is, “don’t process improvements take a long time?” The short …

A process improvements ‘Quick-Hitter’ workshop in 3-5 days!

Common Misconceptions About Process ImprovementsOne question that I am frequently asked is, “don’t process improvements take a long time?” The short answer is no. There is a common misconception that, to make impactful process improvements in your organization, it takes weeks, months, or years. That is just not the case. If a process is negatively impacting your organization, i.e., costing you money, time, or quality is suffering, a Quick-Hitter workshop is the way to go to get rid of the pain points.

These Quick-Hitter workshops are designed specifically to be done, as their name indicates, quickly, and they focus on improvements at a tactical level. They aim to eliminate bureaucratic elements that drag the process down, get rid of anything that isn’t adding value to the work, improving business performance, and generally making people’s lives easier.

What do these workshops look like? Here’s the how to guide in 3 easy phases. 

Phase 1: Pre-work. In the pre-work phase you look to make sure you’re set for the workshop day.  You present your business case for undertaking a process improvement workshop and ensure you have commitment from the sponsor. You are planned and ready to go for the workshop: invites logistics, etc. You complete your charter: outlining scope and getting the right team members. You’ve developed the initial, high-level process map of the process you will be focusing on. Perfect – now you’re set for the actual workshop.

Phase 2: The Quick-Hitter workshop. This phase is where you actually run the process improvement workshop, and this can be done in as little as 1 or 2 days. As a group, you review the charter, scope and validate the high-level process map you developed in the pre-work phase to make sure everyone is on the same page. Once people understand and agree on the charter and process map, you turn your attention to locating areas that pose the problems, the wastes, breakdowns, and the pain points:  why are you unable to deliver on time? Why the cost over-run?  Why doesn’t anybody use what you have produced? You then work together to devise solutions to get rid of the problem(s): determine how to remove waste, bureaucratic red-tape, non-value-added elements, improve the process, and develop the implementation plan.  Finally, “town-hall it”. Make sure everyone knows the new process and adherence measures.

Phase 3: The follow up. In this phase you implement the plan you and your team developed during the Quick-Hitter workshop. As well, you monitor the KPIs you set up during the workshop, and track the success of your process improvement.

So, the million dollar question – how long does it take? Phase 1, our preparation phase can take 1-2 days. Phase 2, the workshop and its deliverables can take 1-2 days. Phase 3, the implementation phase can take place immediately, with monitoring ongoing. In short, planned and implemented properly, an impactful process improvement courtesy of a “Quick-Hitter” workshop – 3-5 days! Wow! Where do I sign?


Could your organization benefit  from process improvements in just 3-5 days? Thanks for reading don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.

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Michael Girdler is a vice-president, CornerStone Dynamics Inc. His blogs focus on all things project management. Throughout Mike's career, he has invested deeply into projects involving sales, marketing, training and development, continuing education, and communications environments.

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