Process excellence opportunity definition is the third vital step, following prioritization and selection, to ensure that the right opportunities are addressed correctly to maximize efficiency and effectiveness benefits to the advantage of all stakeholders.
Why should a leader take time to carefully define process excellence opportunity?
While several benefits can be linked to the opportunity definition, the top reasons include:
What are the consequences when an process excellence opportunity definition is non existent or poor. Apart from frustration on the part of the team members, team leader and their sponsor, the following typically results:
Taken from the project management world, a proven tool used when defining an opportunity is the “Charter”. Thus is a document, typically a template of some sort that contains at least the following nine elements:
So far in this article we made several references to proper measurement of the opportunity at hand. After all, good data is unbiased and offers a true view of performance.
For example when the opportunity definition centres on innovation, appropriate and accurate data indicating market share growth, innovation success rate, commercialization rate and other are required.
When the opportunity definition is about improving process performance, reliable and valid data showing for example cycle time, defect rate, first time through, etcetera is required.
Often the performance of a process is based on assumption and not based on good measurement data often as it is not available. In such a case the first step would be to install the right measurement system. Once good data is gather it may turn out that the magnitude of the problem is not as severe as perceived, or even worst then expected.
Often it is required that more than one aspect of the opportunity is measured. This is to avoid opportunity teams work away at improving one particular measure at the expense of another factor of the opportunity.
Typically two measure plus a counter measure suffice to avoid passing on a problem. The counter measure is what keeps the project team ‘honest’. It aids in tracking potential negative consequences of the work undertaken.
The targets of one or two main measures, often referred to as the ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ measures, should be based on ‘entitlement’. Entitlement is derived from research, benchmarking, the best that has already been achieved (whether by the same company or process, or outside the company), or scientific or engineering prediction of the possible.
Ideal measures should be specific, uncomplicated to measure, have a clear operational definition, is regularly sampled or measured, and visibly graphically displayed.
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