Two Secrets Demystify Process Improvement

Finding the true meaning of life…Process Improvement!

My long time friend recently asked me, “ok, seriously, what exactly is process improvement? I’ve heard it mentioned in the news many times, but if you asked me to explain it, I would have no clue how”. And so I said, “Simply put? it’s the art of looking at the way something is done today, and finding ways to make it better.” “That’s it?”, “That’s it my friend”.

And that’s when it dawned on me; there is a key element missing from classic process improvement! …and that is the way it’s communicated.

So often I have sat in conferences or listened to former colleague consultants of mine talk about process improvement in the most technical of ways, losing their audience five minutes into the discussion. And I would think, why? there is no need, process improvement doesn’t need fancy jargon. No wonder people think it’s a manufacturing concept! Here are my two secrets, and hopefully they help our readers really get to the core of process improvement.

Two secrets to demystify classic process improvement

  1. Use an every day example: There are thousands of processes in your everyday life, and most of us don’t realize it. For example, how do you get ready in the morning, how do you get your kids lunch ready for school? What are the steps you take, and how many?. Everything is a process, right down to tying your shoes. Remember the bunny ears story?….make two bunny ears, pass one through the other and pull tight!
  2. Ask the question: How can I make it better?: Now that you have a scenario (e.g. your commute to work), is there any way to make it better or faster?. Let’s start asking the questions. Does the route you take or the time you leave the house, affect how quickly you get to work? What about dropping the kids off or getting coffee? Maybe you have to move cars in the morning to get out of the garage, can this be arranged the night before?

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