By Paul Swift
I met an old client of mine last week and they asked “Why can’t we just get going and make the changes we’ve identified?”
My reply was a measured one, as this was a client who asked all of his staff to just do things NOW, without questioning the logic. This was knee jerk management at its worst. The changes they’d identified didn’t address the root cause of the problems they were having. Indeed, the problems they were having hadn’t even been fully defined yet and there was certainly no data to back anything up, just gut feel. As I’ve talked about in previous mails, the Define stage is absolutely critical in setting up your improvement project for success.
We’ve already looked at the problem definition element previously. Three other key elements of the Define stage, which are critical are to ensuring the success of a project are:
The Goal Element
Defining what you’re looking to achieve
Make your Goal for your project SMART!
Recognise, as with the description of the problem, things may change as data clarifies the picture, Where Are We Going – How Will We Know When We Get There?
Ensure you answer fully, all of these Key questions:
- What’s the purpose of this project?
- What prompted it?
- Why is it important to work on this now?
- How much improvement are we looking to make and by when?
- Who needs to be involved?
- How will customers be affected?
- How will we know if things improve?
- What data or information is needed?
- What’s the broad plan
As with any journey, if you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how can you ever expect to get there? Define clearly what you want the outcome to be of your project. Even with the most state of the art Sat Nav, if you had no destination set, you’d never arrive!