Every process improvement project needs its own plan to boost the chances of a successful outcome. Make sure yours includes these four phases.
If you need to improve a process, make a plan
A process improvement plan is exactly what it says: an end-to-end strategy to make a process better. Each process should have its own comprehensive plan, designed to achieve a specific outcome.
Formal improvement plans enable you to focus, ensuring you understand, prioritise and tackle the most important process problems. They establish goals and set accountability for change. They must be data-driven, objective and measurable.
Four phases to cover in a process improvement plan
A process improvement plan should contain practical, actionable steps, and act as a strong framework for enhancement. It must cover the following:
– Define the existing process and how it works: map, mine and model the process you are seeking to improve. This includes gathering stakeholder input via workshops or surveys
– Identify the problems, challenges and opportunities: examine the entire process from start to finish. The true problems or opportunities may not be what, or where, you thought they would be
– Specify how the ideal future process should work: scope out your ideal future state, again from end to end. Set SMART goals in line with overall business goals
– Includes ways to drive and maintain positive change: make sure you establish mechanisms for ongoing evaluation and revision of the process. Aim to make smaller, regular adjustments to sustain the improvement. Communicate the new process to stakeholders to engage them in the change
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