What’s the Plan, Stan?

If you’re a regular reader then you might remember that I’m a list maker, so it won’t come as a surprise to you to learn that I’m a planner too. After all, a list is a pre-cursor to a plan. The essential “first step”, as it were.

Are you a planner? I expect half of you are, and half of you aren’t. Either way, this blog post is for you! If you answered yes, then you’ll be interested to know how your planning OCD will help you in a process improvement effort. If you answered no? Well, then I promise to make this as painless as possible.

Ya Gotta Have a Plan.

…especially if we’re talking about data collection.

Last week Nicole took you through three easy steps for creating the all-important problem statement. You learned that you need to be able to define the defect so you can measure it, and so you can prove that you fixed it. It follows that if you can fit in some data, then you’re more likely to be able to communicate your process improvement idea effectively, to gain buy-in, and to get funding if that’s something you need.

What if you don’t have the data? Can you skip that part?

Ummm, no actually. You can’t. Not if you want to do this right. But don’t panic – all you need is a plan.

A well-prepared Data Collection Plan helps ensure successful preparation of the business case by making sure there is useful data on hand. Click to Tweet.

Back to List-Making…

If you’re a procrastinator, now is the time to give yourself a stern talking-to and remember that it is NOT ok to put off building a data-collection plan. Do it now, before you get started on the project. Otherwise you are putting the success of the project at risk, not to mention potentially alienating colleagues when you go running to them at the last minute to ask them for information.

So get out your pen and paper, and make a list with the following:

  • What data do you need?
  • Who is responsible for getting it?
  • Why is it needed?
  • How will it be collected?
  • When will it be collected?
  • Where will it be collected?

Now work this into your overall project plan. It really IS that simple.

Not sure about a project plan? You don’t have your PMP designation? Never fear, Nicole will cover that next week. Stay tuned, and in the meantime follow us on Twitter @Whiteboardcons and use #BetterFasterCheaper to join the conversation.

Until next week,