What’s the Business Case For Your Process Improvement Idea?

We all know the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In
my time in business process improvement, I have been left scratching my head on if the business case justifies the end goal. Sure, automated solutions look
fancy and new, and tell a great narrative, but are they always the right
solution? No, of course not. We are not quite in the Matrix…yet. This may
seem so apparent, but I have been the one left developing a complex solution
that will have little impact and seen many others doing the same. In this post,
I will discuss lessons that I have learned in my process improvement journey
that will hopefully help all you “Slings and Arrows” readers out
there prevent some of the mistakes that I have fallen into in the past.

What is the data telling you? I have found that, for me, this is always a
starting point for creating a business justification and story. My sincerest
advice here is to either learn excel, inquiry-based SQL, learn how to use Power
BI, or find a trusted colleague you know who can reliably pull the
data. Truthfully, the best approach here is a combination of the strategies. In
today’s age we are surrounded by so much big data at our fingertips. To be a
savvy developer and process improvement expert, you should know how to use
data. Further, how you explain the data matters. Can you do it in a simple way?
What is your denominator (overall target of work)? What is your numerator (your scope and impact)? Statistics in this regard are very easy to manipulate, so be honest, and dig deep.

Where are the actual pain points in the process for which you are investigating?
Are you sufficiently addressing these pain points? Are you speaking to the
folks in the trenches, so to speak? This is where, aside from the quantitative
impact, the business narrative lives. Will your solution simplify a complicated
process? Will it standardize it? When looking into process improvement, these
are important questions that must be able to be answered quickly in a develop
cycle.

Finally, what is your 30 second “elevator pitch”? Can you articulate what the process improvement will be and how it will impact the existing legacy process in a positive way? That is, is this process standardization, simplification, or standardization, a mix? These suggestions may seem obvious, but I assure you, dearest readers, they are probably the most often overlook concepts in my experience of process improvement.

Author: Ted Henry Curtis

Support Delivery Manager. Passion for process improvement, standardization, and simplification.

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