Step 1 – Define the opportunity for improvement

Posted by Roxanne Chugg

Within the four phases of Plan, Do, Check and Act there are 7 steps.  This week we take a look at step number 1.

Step 1 – Define the opportunity for improvement

During Step 1 be sure to ask and understand:

• What is the opportunity or problem? What impact is the problem having?  What are you trying to achieve?
• What structures might you need to work through to effect appropriate ownership of the opportunity for improvement? 
• What are the processes/people/relationships involved?  Who is responsible?  Who has authority to change them?
• Has this been raised before? Is this being worked on anywhere else within your organisation?
• How will you know when you’ve been successful in improving it?

There are lots of tools you can use to work your way through the first step e.g.

  • Improvement or Project Charter
  • SMART Objectives
  • Lean Wastes
  • Opportunity Statement
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Key Performance Indicators

Some key things to remember here are:

  • Decide on your objectives and scope the improvement well
  • Involve others (within your work team or cross functionally)
  • Set measures to help you understand and demonstrate how your efforts will improve

Next week Roxanne will share some insights into Step 2 – Understanding the current situation