You've identified the right people. You've mapped your existing processes. You've looked at what works best and what doesn't work so well. You've identified improvements. And you've written down your new process. There's just a couple of stages left in your process improvement, and they happen to be the easiest of all! So let's count down to your celebrations.
1. Gather your people again
The first step in this final stage is to gather again the people you gathered back when we got started with process improvement, along with any others that were identified throughout the process. You'll remember that we looked at 4 distinct groups:
Who owns the process: the person(s) who are responsible for making it happen
Who delivers the process: the person(s) who make it happen
Whose work is affected by the process: other employees in your organisation
Who uses the process: your customers or clients.
To make sure your changes have addressed all of the questions and 'clunky' elements of the process, you'll need to look at it from different perspectives, so all of these people will need to be involved again.
2. Try out your new process
Once you've gathered your team back together, you'll then need to have a run-through with the new process. Try it out a few different times, and gather the feedback from everyone involved. Put it to the test with the questions you've already asked when identifying wastes:
Why is this step needed?
What is it adding to the overall aim or goal of the process?
Would doing something different - making changes to the step - lead to a better outcome?
What would be lost if this step was removed completely?
Be rigorous with your testing and be open to further feedback. You'll want to make the most of this stage to really hone the new process you've developed.
3. Make further changes
And finally, when you've finished the testing and gathered the feedback, make the final changes to your business process so it's as effective as it can be and then map out the new, even-more-improved process! Remind yourself of how to map your process here.
And that's the end of the process improvement process. Almost! We believe that you can always find new ways to make your business better, so would encourage you to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to improve, with regular scheduled reviews as a minimum requirement. This will put you on the front foot when it comes to processes that really work.
This set of posts should have provided you with the steps you need to make the changes you need and - hopefully - to start to encourage a mindset of continuous improvement in your team. Come back next time to find out about our top tips for success. And, as ever, get in touch if you need help with your business processes. We'd be delighted to hear from you.