5 Key Steps in a Process Improvement Project

1. Determine the Critical Business Issue

You shouldn’t pursue Process Improvement because it’s conceptually logical or a noble objecive; you should do it to solve a high-impact problem. The driving force of a Process Improvement project is a Critical Business Issue (CBI) that may be centered on revenue, quality improvement, cost reduction, and/or cycle time reduction. (Since most of these variables are in the mix, you need to agree on which one or two are the primary motivations for the project.)

Once you reach consensus on the CBI, the individual championing the effort should lead the Process Improvement project definition, which results in:

  • Project GOALS, including not only metrics around the CBI, but other measures of project success (e.g., role clarity, systems installation, culture transformation)
  • Process SCOPE (start and stop points)
  • Project CONSTRAINTS, which are the guardrails within which the new process must function. For example ...