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project selection | Qualtec's Business Performance Improvement Blog


Posts Tagged ‘project selection’

Selecting the Right Projects…Not too Hot but Not too Cold…Just Right

June 1st, 2012 Comments off

Right fit project selection and definitionWe all know the story of Goldilocks who product tested the food and furniture of her neighboring bear population.  By trial and error, she bounced from too hat and large to too cold and small until she found “just right”.

Organizations go through the same process in finding what is right for their performance improvement initiatives.  Projects are sometimes so small that they aren’t worth management’s attention. And sometimes they are so large and complex that they can’t be supported by the available resources time and knowledge. And so the organization bounces from guardrail to guardrail trying to find the right level of effort, capability and results which in and of itself is a waste of time and effort.

So how do you get it right and bypass the time and effort?  How do you pick projects that fit your organizations goals?

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We have written extensively about project selection.  We talk about North to South alignment from Dashboards to Improvement efforts.  People have reviewed our recommended path and said “I get it…I believe that process does align the efforts to the strategic goals…but the projects are still not right…how do we get it right?”

The answer is in defining “right”.  And a big part of the effort to define it is to be honest with yourself and your team.  As an example, if you are focused on productivity, don’t pretend otherwise by talking about innovation or the satisfaction of other stakeholders than the business.  And if you want long term growth, face the conflict with short term capital constraints.

Mechanically, where in our recommended roadmap does that mirror get held up?  It’s in the rankings and rating of projects.  Regardless of your priorities, you’ll always develop a project list by moving from the creation of a dashboard to conversion of those metrics to Critical to Stakeholder Requirements to process metrics within a Value Stream Map.  Performance gaps relative to those metrics produce the project list.

It is then that the honesty begins.  As you create criteria, they must be weighted and it is those weightings that determine which projects rise to the top. And it is the depth to which you drive those project definitions that determine the level of their impact.  You can steer the efforts to a few big, breakthrough projects or too many small incremental projects.

But continue to be honest with yourself –those big, high level breakthrough projects are often gnarly and require real enterprise wide capability and focus.  And for those many, small projects to cumulatively have a strategic impact your organization will require a long term vision and fundamental cultural change.

Our Roadmap to Operational Excellence is a practical approach to improving whatever you seek to drive whether it’s your personal golf scores and weight loss or your company’s customer satisfaction and cash flow.  You set measures for targets, understand how you get there, identify how you’re doing and target to improve your lowest performing activities.  But a big assumption is that you all agree on what you want and are honest about it with yourselves and the team including an assessment of your capabilities. Get your rankings right and using the framework for improvement, you’ll progress.

If you want to talk more about Project Selection or our Roadmap to Operational Excellence please contact me at jlopezona@ssqi.com.

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