Having worked with many companies on their process improvement initiatives, I have found that the hardest part of getting them started is simply figuring out where to start. There are so many opportunities for improvement, but most companies don’t have the luxury of tackling them all at once. So where do you start?
It’s important to pick the right processes to kick things off, because you must be able to show significant impact and return on investment for your improvements. The first project inevitably becomes the proof point for the value of your process improvement initiative.
The most common challenge is overcoming internal politics. It’s easy to become distracted by the leaders who are making the most noise about fixing their process when there might be other areas that can yield a better return for the company. Unless you get all of your stakeholders in the same room to prioritize your list as a team, you run the risk of focusing on the wrong area.
1. Align goals and get your team on the same page.
Start by setting aside half a day to get your leadership team on the same page. Your meeting should begin with a reminder of the overall goals of the company, and the ultimate goal of your process improvement initiative. Everyone should bring their list of processes they think need the most improvement.
2. Apply metrics to the processes you recommend for automation.
We all know you can’t automate all processes at once. That means that your team is going to need to prioritize. In order to remove the politics from your prioritization efforts, you must apply metrics to the processes you wish to automate:
- What is the motivation for automating the process? Is it reducing costs, increasing throughput, improving quality, or something else?
- What is the measure that represents the value of what needs to change? For example, measures might include cost per work item, time to complete, or number of errors.
- What is the current value for the metrics being measured?
- What is the goal for the metrics?
3. Prioritize based on facts.
Now that you know the “value” of each of the processes on your wish list, it’s easier to objectively prioritize the processes with the best interests of the company in mind. When you are able to successfully able to get your leadership team to think at the “big picture” level, you have a better chance of more quickly achieving return on your investment.
Now that you know where to start, it’s time to kick off your first automation project.
Next time, I’ll talk about using user-centric discovery to ensure you have the most accurate requirements ensuring a successful start your automation process.
In the meantime, if you’d like OpenConnect to guide you through your discovery process and help you to build a business case to justify your project, click here and contact us today to schedule a DiscoverNow session.