Work Sampling – A Tool for the Times

When work is not getting done, or is being performed poorly, it is tempting to claim “lack of people”, or resources, as the cause. In today’s world with high staff turnover, job vacancies and scarcity of qualified staff, this seems like a plausible excuse. But is it really a lack of resources, or might it… Read more »

Improvement Initiatives Need a Valid Starting Point

When we discuss performance improvement, we think about a measurable beginning baseline, an ending performance level, and the quantified difference (aka gap) to be achieved. To demonstrate a relevant gain, three things need to be in place – a valid measure of appropriate type, a valid target, and the quantified value of the difference between… Read more »

Analyzing a Performance Gap

A few weeks ago I took a break from the virtual world and attended a live conference of performance excellence-minded professionals. In one workshop, I discussed gap analysis and some techniques for getting to the gap drivers. Because of the high-level of interest, I thought it would be helpful to share them now.  Where to… Read more »

Targets – Drivers of Excellence (Sometimes)

In this post we’ll discuss targets and their relationship with measures. A target is a desired level of performance. Its importance cannot be disputed, particularly when coupled with an actual performance level, or baseline. The difference between the actual and target is known as the gap. Therefore, the legitimacy of the gap depends on the… Read more »

The Fallacy of Measuring Performance by Using Averages

The Fallacy of Measuring Performance by Using Averages It may not make sense at first, but customers can be very dissatisfied even when your performance is exceeding their critical requirements. You’ve done your homework, conducted focus groups, analyzed customer feedback and even analyzed research data. You’ve concluded that customers will be very satisfied if served… Read more »

Developing Countermeasures and Solutions

Developing effective, feasible and permanent solutions is the key to process improvement. Problems are identified, root causes are verified, countermeasures are developed and implemented, and permanent solutions are created. Methods used to create countermeasures can dictate whether they will become solutions, or not. Let’s start by understanding the difference between a countermeasure and a solution,… Read more »

Root Cause Identification – How to Do it

What is a Root Cause, and How is it Identified? This has probably never happened to you, but what if you created a solution that cost your organization a lot of money, and it didn’t have much effect? Or shaken your head when somebody proposed an expensive project that you felt wasn’t a big priority?… Read more »

Part 2: What is Process Improvement? Why is it Important?

Henry Ford once said, “Most people would rather work around problems than try to solve them”. Perhaps that’s why we often find ourselves addressing the same complaints, obstacles, and challenges hoping to never deal with them again. Well, hoping isn’t enough. Today, we must constantly improve and innovate to not only succeed, but to survive.… Read more »

Part 1: What is Process Management? Why is it Important?

Have you ever wondered why so many organizations have improvement approaches like Lean, Six Sigma, Agile, or PDCA underway, but never seem to make significant changes in operating performance and outcomes for customers? Or why they are always reacting to problems? Most of the time it’s because they’re trying to improve a process or system… Read more »