By Scott Burgmeyer
Many people ask me about continuous improvement and what the best method is, how they should approach it, when, etc. My answer is ALWAYS – it depends. There are several methods – Six Sigma, Lean, Toyota Production System, Lean Sigma, make your own, and so many more.
If you are thinking it’s time to start, here are some key questions you need to ask:
- What are we trying to accomplish with CI?
- Who is asking to do CI? Leadership? Others?
- Do we have a budget for it?
- What support structure do we need?
- Have we done this before? If so, what happened?
- What model fits our culture today AND can grow with us as we evolve?
The last two questions are the most important. If you were not successful before, what prevented success? What will you do to change that this time? If you haven’t done it before, what will make you successful this time?
Evolution is crucial to think about. Getting stuck in one method and set of tools will create CI Confusion as you evolve. One key role for the CI professional is to, as JoAnn Sterke says, “support people to get better at getting better.” Understanding what you are trying to solve, the history of what has or hasn’t been tried, and visioning the future is a key step to starting CI, and realizing success in the end.