Process Improvement Methodologies and
Continuous improvement tools

Exceptional Improvement Doesn’t Happen by Accident

When aiming to improve a process and adopt any of the various process improvement methodologies, there are a few critical steps that need to occur to help set teams up for success. In the section below, we share a handful of helpful continuous improvement tools to help leaders improve their project outcomes, while creating a more positive experience for project team members and customers.

12 Tools for Continuous Process Improvement Methodologies and Lean Six Sigma

Can’t find what you are looking for? Try viewing all our continuous improvement tools or searching for the specific tool below.

The Right Process Improvement Methodologies

or Tools Can Make All the Difference.

Achieve Alignment

Use an SBAR When Selecting Projects

Template for creating an SBAR (situation, background, assessment, recommendation).

In process improvement there is a cautionary saying about “there being no greater waste of resources than improving something that shouldn’t be improved.” To help safeguard organizations against investing in projects that don’t support the organization’s goals, consider using an SBAR to clarify how the project aligns to organizational priorities.

 

SBAR is an acronym that stands for situation, background, analysis, and recommendation. Many leaders have found that the SBAR a simple, easy-to-teach format that is useful for creating and communicating a project’s business case and the need for change.

Require Projects to Have a Project Charter

Project charter template used to provide a high-level overview of the project scope, deliverables, and resources.

As the organization undertakes improvement projects, leadership will need to ensure that every project has clear ownership, an achievable goal, a manageable scope, and an appropriate timeline. The project charter is a useful tool for guiding the project from start to finish. To help set up projects for success, it is strongly recommended that every project have a charter.

 

An important aspect of the project charter is that it helps to connect the dots between the project’s goals and the organization’s priorities. From an organizational alignment perspective, the charter creates tremendous value. But beyond that, the charter helps to bind the team together, connecting them to a common goal, but also helping them to see how their work contributes to the organization’s success.

Select the Right Team – Give Them Structure and the Information They Need to Act

Know Who the Stakeholders Are

Stakeholder Analysis template

A lot of the project’s success will be contingent on selecting the right project, but also selecting the right project team. When it comes to identifying the key stakeholders that need to be involved in the project, consider using a Stakeholder Analysis. Completing a Stakeholder Analysis will help clarify who is impact by the project, who can influence the project’s outcomes, and who might just need to be informed that the project is occurring.

Every Meeting Should Have an Agenda

Template for creating a meeting agenda.

As the project team begins to conduct their work and use the various improvement methods, it is essential that their team meetings end with clear action. To help ensure team meetings are productive, ensure that all meetings are guided by a well-crafted agenda.

 

Maximize the use of the team’s time by distributing an agenda in advance of your team’s meetings. Ideally, the agenda will be shared at least 24-48 hours before the meeting begins.

 

Good Communication Has Nothing to Do with Luck

Communication Plan Template

When it comes to sharing important information with key stakeholders, a little bit of planning goes a long way. To help ensure the project team’s and the various stakeholder’s needs for information is satisfied, it is essential that a plan exist to know who needs what information, how do they like to receive it, and how frequently should the information be shared. To help organize information sharing with key stakeholders, it is strongly recommended that a Communication Plan be created as part of the team’s project planning activities.

Avoid the Temptation of Jumping to a Solution

A Well-Defined Problem is Half Solved.

Downloadable Problem Statement Template

Investing time and energy to fully understand the problem and how it is impacting the organization and its customers is critical to getting the project started on the right foot. To help the team describe the problem they are trying to solve, consider using a Problem Statement.

 

In general, the Problem Statement helps describe the who, what, when/where of the problem. But most importantly it described why the problem needs to be addressed.

Walk the Process, See It Firsthand, Then Map It.

Gemba Process

Before the team tries to identify solutions, they need to first understand the current state. Going to the Gemba, to observe the process first hand is a critical activity for collecting information about how the process exists today. Following the Gemba, the team can document their finds and create a process map to help explain the process steps that are being completed, by whom, and in what order.

Make it Safe to Talk About Process Waste

An important part of any improvement effort is to ensure that stakeholders feel secure when talking about what isn’t working in the current process. Equipping everyone with a shared language to talk about the common forms of process waste will help people have the words they need to talk about what is broken and why.

Be Sure to Get to the Root of the Problem

Template for facilitating 5 whys.

Before the team tries to identify solutions, they need to first understand the current state. Going to the Gemba, to observe the process first hand is a critical activity for collecting information about how the process exists today. Following the Gemba, the team can document their finds and create a process map to help explain the process steps that are being completed, by whom, and in what order.

Be Careful Not to Confuse Activity with Progress

Set a SMART Goal to Be Clear on What Success Looks Like

Template for creating a SMART statement. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound

To unite the project team around a common goal consider creating a SMART Goal. The acronym SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Having a clear goal in mind with support the team’s decision-making and allow the team to determine if the changes they implement impact the goal in mind.

Keep Record of Progress Made and Issues Encountered

Weekly-Project-Status-Report

As the project gets underway, it is easy to assume that things are going smoothly without really knowing if true progress is happening. Just because the team is “busy”, doesn’t mean the team is being productive. To help the project team document progress made and have an avenue for escalating issues it is strongly recommended that team provide a weekly project health and status report (commonly referred to as a “stoplight” report).

Use Project Tollgates to Ensure the Project Is Following Disciplined Problem-Solving

Project A3 Report Template

Providing the team with a simple-to-follow improvement framework for managing their project, telling their story, documenting the progress, and sharing key learning is critical to the project’s success. Utilizing a project A3 not only helps standardize how the team solves the problem, it makes the work visible and allows the team to share important updates about what their ideas and results are

Project charter template used to provide a high-level overview of the project scope, deliverables, and resources.

Project Charter

Get your project started on the right foot by documenting your scope, timeline, and required resources using a project charter.

Template for creating an SBAR (situation, background, assessment, recommendation).

SBAR

When discussing the need for a project, try to summarize the need for the project and your recommendation using an SBAR.

Project A3 Report Template

A3 Template (6 box)

The A3 template is used to help guide the problem-solving process through asking the basic improvement questions.

Template for creating a meeting agenda.

Meeting Agenda

Does your organization use a standardized meeting agenda template?

Stakeholder Analysis template

Stakeholder Analysis

Managing stakeholder expectations, keeping everyone informed and engaged, starts with a stakeholder's analysis.

Communication Plan

Communication Plan

It is important that a plan exist to help facilitate effective communication from project start to finsih.

Weekly-Project-Status-Report

Weekly Status Report

Creating transparency around the project's health and status is critical to the project's success.

Problem Statement

Problem Statement

A well-defined problem is a half-solved problem. The problem statement explains what the problem is and it is needed.

Template for creating a SMART statement. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound

SMART Aim Statement

Help set the project up for success with a clear, measurable objective. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Process Mapping

Process Map

A process map helps to capture the process steps and activities that are followed in order to create a specific product or service.

Understand the 8 common forms of waste using the acronym DOWNTIME (defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, and extra-processing).

8 Forms of Waste

DOWNTIME is a acronym that is helpful in identifying and targeting the 8 common forms of waste that exist within a process.

Template for facilitating 5 whys.

5 Whys

To determine root cause, ask the question "Why is this happening?" a minimum of 5 times. Helps teams understand the difference between symptoms and causes.

We are excited about the opportunity to partner. Check out our list of game change services to help you adopt the various process improvement methodologies.

Green Dot Mission, Vision, and Values

Service Offerings

For a list of the services that the Green Dot Group provides, please reference the attached Service Offerings List.

If you don’t see something you are looking for, please reach out to us.

 

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