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Organizational process improvement questions depends on perspective.

Therefore, from an executive perspective, fewer participants and lower costs may indicate process improvement. However, from an employee or associate perspective, getting more done quickly and easily, without losing personnel, may indicate process improvement.

Generally speaking, consensual answers to the following process improvement questions yield the type of improvement that everyone will support, from the board room to the boiler room.

Process Improvement Questions to Ask When Leading an Initiative

Process Improvement Questions Lead to Coherence

Process Improvement Questions

  • What input required has been automated?
  • Where is it derived?
  • Which input required must be manually generated or obtained, and what is the source?
  • What calculations or algorithms need computed?
  • What are the discrete outputs and who do they go to?

Informational Needs

To better understand the term ‘in-formation’, add the hyphen and observe the dynamism of the term, rather than viewing the need as static data alone:

  • What data supports each activity?
  • Where does it come from?
  • What does it look like (ie, field, statement, table, etc.)?
  • How is it used?
  • What data is missing?
  • What data may have questionable authenticity?
  • Where is the missing data?

Display Format

Sensitize yourself to how to obtain the information, thereby noting potential inefficiencies when participants acquire the data:

  • What screens, reports, or manual forms do you use to secure the data?
  • Optimally, how should it look?
  • Explain any flows or dialogs to obtain the data.
  • What conditions dictate using it?
  • What conditions dictate NOT using it?
  • How is it used?

Environmental Considerations

Because card access and ATMs provide examples where ambient conditions affect optimal design. Consider the following:

  • Describe and determine data generated and transactions performed
  • What security requirements appear prudent?
  • How frequently does it occur?
  • What are the special considerations?

Relationships

Also, consider the dependent relationships on the process in scope. Therefore, do not optimize in a vacuum:

  • Which relationships affected by the process require optimization?
  • What starts, stops, or changes the relationships?
  • What business policies affect them?
  • Separately identify the one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, or many-to-many relationships between them?

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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