You have identified a process improvement area within your business or department. It is easy to figure out what comes next – just fill out a team charter, select the team and team leader, form the team and get out of the way, right? Well, sort of…
Why Select Projects?
Selecting the right project can have a tremendous effect on your business. If done properly, processes will function more efficiently in 3 to 6 months, employees will feel satisfied and appreciated for making business improvements and ultimately shareholders will see the benefit. If project selection is done improperly, a project may be selected that doesn’t have the full business buy-in, project roadblocks may not be removed due to other business priorities, the team may feel ineffective and the end result may be less than ideal. No one wins in this situation, especially the quality manager who may look to these same people the next time a need arises. So how do you make sure you select projects in-line with business priorities?
Select Projects In-Line With Your Business Priorities
Here are five guidelines to keep handy the next time you are evaluating potential quality improvement projects:
- Ask your business leader for the three greatest issues facing the business. Make sure your project is one of the issues or is directly related. This will ensure that your management team is giving the project the proper attention and quickly removing roadblocks.
- What are the three greatest issues as seen from the eyes of your customers? Look through customer complaint logs, listen to call center telephone conversations and call customers that have stopped your company service. Create a Pareto chart to prioritize issues. This will help with project prioritization and project selection.
- Is the project manageable? Can the project realistically be completed by a team within six months? If longer, you may lose members as they move to other jobs or the team may feel frustrated that they’re not making a difference.
- Will the team have a measurable impact on the business processes or financial bottom line? Don’t embark on a project without knowing what the benefits are to the business. This will keep your team motivated along the way.
- What is your process capability? If you haven’t been measuring your process, how do you know it needs improvement? Make sure you know what amount of defects the process is currently producing and define your project desired outcome.
Every business is different and you should ensure that your specific priorities are taken into account when evaluating and prioritizing potential projects. Spreadsheets or databases can help you organize potential projects by assigning evaluation categories, values and weightings to create a consistent selection process.