L.E.S.S. (Listen | Evaluate | Strategize | Systematically Execute)
Follow L.E.S.S. methodology for Process Improvement in any business or field. Four simple, yet very effective steps that provide maximum efficiency for any business process improvement.
The very first step is to carefully listen to your customers, stakeholders, clients and or vendors. Use simple survey mechanism or informational interview process to understand how the exiting process works. By asking appropriate questions, you will gain a very good understanding of not only the existing process but most importantly the shortcomings in the process and opportunities for improvements. Throughout this phase, be open and listen carefully!
The next step in this methodology is to evaluate the inputs gathered in the Listen phase. Synthesize all the inputs from interview/survey mechanism and bucket them in few categories. Be mindful of where the information is coming from and who is providing the input. For e.g. a higher level executive has wider visibility and so perhaps his/her input might provide a wider perspective of the problem. Also look at any competitive data in the respective field to supplement the inputs gathered and draw your conclusions based on the information.
Once you have evaluated the information & data and drawn your conclusions, you have most likely identified improvement opportunities as well as problems to be fixed. Plan and strategize on process improvement opportunities. A very important part of strategizing is get appropriate management support for your strategy since no process improvement effort can be successful without adequate management support. Once you have gained sponsorship and management support, you can move on to the next phase.
Finally, after identifying improvement opportunities and strategizing, you are ready to execute. However, it is very important to realize that execution needs to be done systematically! First of all, we need to set goals for the process improvement that we want to execute on. We need to then define appropriate phases of Process Improvement execution and start executing. While we are in execution phase, what is very important is to check against the defined goals and improvise if needed to keep track of the goals.
Hope you find this methodology useful. Please do provide feedback!
Aditi Chopra is an experienced leader in the software industry.
She is a consultant, writer and a leader.
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