Resourcing an Organization’s Continuous Improvement Journey

Setting projects and the organization's improvement efforts up for success now and into the future often depends on how you commit your resources

Understanding An Organization's Project Governance System and Its Role in Resourcing the Organization's Continuous Improvement Journey

Resourcing Improvement Efforts

In this third and final blog post on governance, we will discuss the importance of a governance system’s role in resource planning. Please check out the first two blog posts if you haven’t already. In these two posts, we talked about what a governance system is and how it can help assess an organization’s maturity and change readiness.

An effective governance system is a core component of an organization. It successfully deploys and systematizes continuous improvement within the organization. But beyond that, carefully planning how to develop people to lead and own the multiple improvement activities is paramount.

An organization’s improvement journey is inevitable for its success. Thus, the organization must equip its people adequately. To do that, multiple factors need to be considered. These factors will give people meaningful work. Also, it will help ensure they have the right people in the right roles. Moreover, while building out an improvement program and resourcing it, there are a few aspects to consider. These aspects are; making hiring decisions, assigning and managing resources, and capturing the value created by the resources (cost/benefit analysis). The table below provides a list of things to consider across the above mentioned topics.

Important Governance Activities

Selecting and Hiring Candidates

  • What responsibilities and expectations need to be included in a role summary?
  • What are the criteria for selecting candidates? What qualifications are required?
  • Where will the candidates come from? Are they internal or external?
  • Will the candidates be part-time, full-time, or on a contract?
  • If you hire from within, will you backfill the now open positions?
  • What is an appropriate and competitive salary to offer?

Applying and Managing Resources

  • How will candidates be trained, coached, and mentored?
  • Will candidates be expected to achieve certification?
  • Who will the candidates report to?
  • What priorities will the candidates be assigned to?
  • Will candidates cover all geographies or specific territories?
  • How will the candidates be evaluated?
  • What is the career path for the candidates?

Maximizing and Capturing Value

  • How will the candidate’s cost savings be quantified?
  • Is there a target for cost savings per year?
  • How are cost savings validated, and by whom?
  • Over what time frame should cost savings be claimed?

Coordinating Improvement Activities

A common finding that often arises from evaluating an organization’s maturity and readiness is that resources are currently inadequate to support the journey ahead. Be careful in assuming that “inadequate” means unmotivated or resistant. In this case, inadequacy comes from a lack of capacity and capability. In this context, capacity refers to the availability of people, and capability refers to the skillset of people.

It is very important that a governance system manages the organization’s capacity and capability. Therefore, without adequate and capable resources, all improvement activities risk encountering barriers. These barriers are due to the lack of resources. Hence, the projects become too complex for anyone to manage effectively. To illustrate the various activities that must be successfully coordinated to support a successful implementation, consider the following relationship diagram. In this diagram, it becomes clear that the deployment leader (often the organization’s Master Black Belt or Quality Council) must work to recruit the right people, provide them with the right skills, and then apply their skills to the right projects.

As depicted above, balancing the maturation of people resources alongside the maturation of the organization is a delicate balance. Suppose the organization matures faster than the skills and availability of its people. In that case, people may become anxious and fearful as they are asked to achieve objectives they are not currently prepared to succeed at.

On the other hand, if the people mature faster than the organization, they may become frustrated by the gaps in the improvement infrastructure. Consequently, encountering sticking points such as a lack of effective project sponsorship; managing multiple competing priorities; or a culture of optionality instead of accountability.

Developing Your Organization's Improvement Capabilities

Three primary methods can be used in developing resources: training, coaching, and continuing education. Often, the question isn’t how development will occur or what it will look like but more about who will provide the development. Below is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of using internal or external resources to provide training, coaching, or continuing education.


learn more about governance and sponsoring projects

Introduction to Project Sponsor Training, continuous improvement certifications

Suggesting and approving project requests is a critical step in ensuring an organization is working on the right change efforts. This topic is a core concept of leading and sponsoring change. To learn more about sponsoring projects, please visit our Introduction to Project Sponsorship Certification Course.

The project sponsor plays a critical role in the success of an organization’s change initiatives. To get the total value out of its change initiatives, the organization must invest in leadership the skills they will need to help govern project activities. Effective project sponsorship helps ensure that the organization is working on the right projects and that the project teams have adequate support.

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