Dont skip Part One: http://biznik.com/articles/maybe-you-shoulda-coulda-now-you-can-recipe-for-improvement-part-1
But wait. This can’t be real. It can’t be that simple. It’s not. It never runs that smoothly. You may not have the steps in the right order, so you can move the post-its around to where you need them. And somewhere along the line, a question or a decision needs to be made and the process branches off to join the mainline again later (maybe).
- If there is a question or decision in the process, record the question on a post-it as a closed ended question requiring a binary choice, YES or NO. Example: New Customer? Paperwork Complete? Invoice?
- Stick the question on your map, but at this point, twist the post-it 45 degrees, so it looks like a diamond and not a square.
- Label the right hand corner of the first diamond with a Y (for yes) or an N (for no) depending on the course of the mainline/dominant branch.
- Continue mapping your process to the right, using steps #5 to #12, until you get to the end of the process.
- At some point, you need to connect the squares and diamonds with arrows to clarify the direction of the flow. Use the dry erase marker (which should not bleed through the paper and damage the wall) for this purpose.
- Then go back to the first question or decision diamond and label the top of the diamond with a Y (for yes) or an N (for no) depending on the course of that branch of your process. Continue the process mapping, using steps #4 to #12, up and to the right.
- Attempt to keep the branches parallel to the mainline.
- At some point the branches may intersect and rejoin the mainline.
- Sometimes the branch may send the process further back rather than ahead. Arrows are especially necessary to indicate the direction of this branch, if it is going from right to left.
- Complete the map using the techniques above.
- Label the end of the process “END”.
- Step back from the wall.
- Take a deep breath.
- Take a break. (Let it bake in a medium oven until done.)
- When you return from your break, have the experts and stakeholders review the process map, individually or in smaller groups.
- If a change is proposed to the current process, it must be agreed upon by the entire body.
What you are doing is creating a visual diagram of your current process. All the stake holders should agree on how it is now. Once the current situation is mapped out, usually the pain points pop out and suggested solutions are obvious.
Step Three – Map Out The Proposed Solution(s)
Start from the beginning. More wall, more flip chart paper and masking tape. More post-its and plenty of new ideas. Map out the new process using the techniques above. Ask the “dumb” questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. One old technique is to ask “why” to every response seven times to really get to the root cause. Streamline. Eliminate or create shorter steps. For example in the diagram below, steps #3, 10 and 11 were eliminated, step #14 was created and there is a new relationship between steps #9 and 7.
Each solution needs to be tested, but you are on your way to creating better ways of doing your work.
Here is how I pour a cup of coffee?
Good luck and prosper 3M (the maker of Post-its).
PS. Please comment if this subject needs an event to explain the techniques better.