Last week we discussed how to measure the results of a Process Improvement initiative and how to successfully implement the process. This week we have assumed that the Process Improvement Initiative has been completed and we are now faced with Acting on the Results.

There are two possible outcomes from the results and both lead to further action.

  1. The measurements and metrics indicate a successful process improvement and we have achieved the results we want.
  2. The measurements and metrics indicate an unsuccessful process improvement and we have to decide what to do next.

In the beginning it is usually suggested that we review the measurements and derived metrics to ensure that we are measuring what we thought we were measuring. A false positive, (we think our program was successful but it was not) can be caused by either measuring the wrong item, deriving the wrong metrics or drawing the wrong conclusion. If the analysis indicates that the conclusion is correct then the following steps are recommended:

      1. Determine a new process improvement initiative.
      2. Determine if our existing metrics will properly measure the new initiative.
      3. Define new metrics as required.
      4. Implement and measure as before.

If, after due analysis, we determine that our process improvement initiative did not lead to the correct result, then we have to decide between the following two possibilities:

      1. Undo the changes made and revert to the previous method of doing the process.
      2. Initiate another process improvement session to change the process to something better.

For either of the above, we still need to measure and make sure we are accomplishing what is desired in terms of Process Improvement or maintenance of the status prior to the initial change.

Note that none of this is based on supposition or guessing. No changes are made without supporting statistics.

Next week: Quality Assurance – Doing it right the first time.