The majority of organizations and teams around the globe want to work faster. However, not all groups have a systematic way to improve their speed, or maintain the speed they have. This tidbit summarizes steps that you can take to assess where your organization has friction and lists practices to improve and maintain your gains.
This article refers to previously written tidbit and newsletter articles that can be utilized to reduce your organization’s friction.
1. Consider where your friction points are and select practices to reduce them
Friction in this article refers to the issues that slow an organization or project down, such as delays, approvals, problems, surprises and the lack of skills. Friction cannot be eliminated, but it can be reduced.
The first article “Do more for less” describes many example practices that can be used to speed up your teams. You won’t need all of them. Use this initial list to evaluate potential areas for improvement for your group.
Article: Do More for Less – http://www.processgroup.com/pgmininewsjan08.pdf
2. Perform team-level risk management
Any predefined list of issues you use to appraise yourself against will not be a perfect match for your organization. You can determine additional and project-specific areas of friction by performing risk management. Risk management is good at routinely assessing, sorting and prioritizing potential problems before they are realized.
45-min webinar*: Straightforward Risk Management for Projects That You Can Do Now –
3. Capture the essence of your solution in a checklist so that new knowledge can be quickly accessed and routinely used
One way to kill any new practice is to overdocument it. Not only does this bury the essence of the practice, it slows down an organization since they have to plow through numerous pages of stuff to find out what to do.
This article describes ways to capture essential practices in a short checklist.
4. Sell new practices to your organization and educate them
When you solve an issue and make something better, you need to sell it to others. Just telling people to use the new tool, estimate in a new way or use a new template, will not cause them to adopt it. Education will also be needed to obtain the gains from your audience.
This next article discusses how to sell practices to your audience.
Article: Selling Quality to Your Organization – http://www.processgroup.com/pgpostsept09.pdf
The true value of any new practice is not realized until the population uses it. That requires them to be educated in the new practice so that it becomes second nature. Education does not have to be expensive, it just has to be done. This next article explains some choices to consider.
Article: Do Engineers Need to be Trained? (Training Your Staff on the Cheap) – http://www.processgroup.com/pgmininewsjuly08.pdf
5. Keep the new practice visible
Life has a way of taking over and burying new initiatives, causing any new practice to be lost after a few weeks. This article discusses ways to keep new practices visible.
Short article: Getting New Practices Used and Keeping Them Visible – http://www.processgroup.com/pgpostfeb10.pdf
6. Maintain the gains over time
If you have invested time in fixing an issue, you will want to maintain the gains long-term so that the organization can continue to benefit from it. The simplest way to do this is to use the checklists discussed above at the appropriate time, similar to how the surgeons use them in the checklist article.
Another more comprehensive way is to establish a process and quality audit program to provide a thorough overall picture of which practices are being done and where the gaps are. Audits have to be performed well to be valuable; you can’t attempt an audit program and have it immediately give you 20-20 vision into how the organization operates.
The last article explains one organization’s implementation of a quality program. If a full-blown quality program is too much, stick with the checklists for now.
Article: Implementing Product and Process Quality Assurance (download PDF file Vol. 13, No. 1, October 2006) – http://www.processgroup.com/pgpostoct06.pdf
* The webinar is recorded by Compaid, Inc. There is a $29.99 fee payable to Compaid. Both webinars listed on their website are separate events of the same risk material. One event is longer because of the Q&A at the end.