Why You Need an Improvement Plan

Portable Scrum or Kanban Board -- Do It Yourself Project; © 2013 Jens R. Woinowski, leanself.org

We come back to the issue of continuous improvement. Earlier, I discussed how important it is to do small improvement steps. Except for waste reduction, I did not discuss in detail what to improve and how to improve.

Besides, even for waste reduction I only scratched the surface with some examples of improvement strategies. Lean Self is a framework for improvements that works both for waste reduction and achieving more value.

As I said before, your life is a process, or rather a set of processes. By improving the processes you will improve the results in the long run.

I want to take you a step backwards. Among critics of (formal) quality management systems there is a running joke about the perfect process that ends up with producing concrete boats. With concrete, they mean the stuff out of which you build houses and other buildings. Ignoring the fact that you can build boats and even ships using concrete, the subtle meaning of this joke is that a process is not perfect if you build things which nobody needs. Consequence derived from that: forget about processes, focus on results.

So far so good, but what these critics miss out is the fact that just another process did not work correctly. That might have been the process which defined the boat-building  procedures. Alternatively, it could have been the process that was used to define the requirements for boats. Somebody did something wrong. Doing things is process. Ergo: if you want to improve the results, you need to improve the process.

Whatever you think of building concrete boats: Either someone needs them. Then it might be a process creating value. Or nobody needs them. Then some process was wrong. In order to find out which process, you need to do a thorough root cause analysis, as discussed before.

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