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TLS Continuum Part 59: Where do I Begin? 10 Commandments of Project Selection

Your organization believes that there is a problem with the organization, so the tendency is to try and repair everything at one. While on the surface that may see like the right direction for the organization, this approach seldom meets the end goal. This segment of the TLS Continuum Blog Series suggests that there are 10 commandments to selecting projects that will bring the most benefit to you and your organization.

 Thou shalt become one with the customer

 The end user of our products and services is the customer, whether it is internal or external. It is imperative that you become one with the customer. You can’t just say here is our product or services. You need to get into the head of the customers. You need to understand how they think, feel and there goals, mission and values. You need to understand why they feel they need our product and services. In the end you should behave as if you are the customer.

Thou shalt align all projects with corporate values, missions and goals

 Our continuous process improvement efforts must rest in the values, mission and goals of the organization as a whole. We still will be changing the overall corporate culture and the end of the improvement efforts but they must still reside within the critical bases of your organization. In the end the 3 pillars will guide the implementation process. Each process improvement needs to be aligned with the values that have maintained the organization through its history. Each process improvement needs to be aligned with the mission of the organization. Finally the improvement process must be aligned with the corporate goals for the future.

Thou shalt seek total organizational alignment with project outcomes

 Once you have chosen the direction of the project outcomes, you need to have total buy in from the organization for the effort. Everyone from the corner office to the factory floor must be able to understand what is in it for them in the changes we propose.

Thou shalt seek a positive return on investment on all projects

 You can find a rash of projects that any organization could begin. However while you have this wide assortment of projects that can be worked on you need to choose those projects that will have a positive benefit to the bottom line. Only when you can show how the process improvement effort will make things better can you properly select the project.

Thou shalt ensure that all resources are in place

 Do not begin a project unless you have in place the resources to complete the effort. You need to have the commitment from the management levels of the organization to release the necessary human capital assets to complete the effort. It does not assist the effort when as the project rolls out, managers turn around and say you can’t use this person because I need him to complete a particular project of his or her own. This defeats the whole journey towards continuous process improvement.

Thou shalt ensure that all projects are concentrated on true process causes

 Perception is reality. This is a proven nature of being a human being. You need to ensure that any improvement efforts that you enter into are based on real causes not one-time occurrences. You will find from time to time that one of your processes perform in a non-normal fashion. You will find that circumstances may just cause a rapid solution that are perceived to be the perfect solution but may in fact not be the best solution. As you begin this journey, be sure that when you determine what the causes of your problems are they are the real causes not a perceived cause.

 Thou shalt ensure that all projects will be implemented

 The TLS Continuum is not lip service to improving the organization. If you or your management is not intent on caring through the effort it is a disservice to the efforts to become one with the customer by just going through the efforts with out the commitment to actually meet their needs by improving your processes. Delaying the implementation of the process changes is not fair to your customers, or to your human capital assets that strive to put together the project outcomes.

Thou shalt ensure that all projects are based in urgency

 There is a tendency for humans to put off until later those things that are uncomfortable. I totally get that change is hard. However in order to meet the voice of the customer, you need to dedicate yourself to reaching the end of the process improvement effort as soon as you can reasonably reach that point. Typically the project needs to be completed within a 90 days time frame.

 Thou shalt strive to have all projects are based on evidence based metrics

 Look around your organization and I am sure that you find all kinds of antidotal examples of people stating that they know the answer. The problem is that possible solution may be pulled out of thin air. In order for your solutions to be viable for both your customers and your organization the solutions must be based on creditable, verifiable evidence based on accurate retired data. Data that clearly demonstrates the solution chosen meets all the conditions of what the customer demands to have in place. Failure to do so leads to a worsening of the problems.

Thou shalt strive to have all projects deliver the end result cheaper, faster and better

 Every time you embark on the TLS Continuum journey you should have one goal in mind. You must make it your mission statement to deliver your product or service post process improvement effort cheaper, faster and better. We mean that the customer’s demands are less costly in terms of production costs. We mean that the customer’s demands are delivered faster than the customer expects. By this we mean that the sooner you can deliver the end result the more money your customer makes. Finally you need to strive to deliver the end result better than the customer demands. It means that after the improvement efforts needs to be delivered with as little chance for errors in the product or service as possible.

The process of choosing the project to resolve your organizational problems is a critical factor in meeting the needs of the customer. Process selection demands that careful attention be made to the 10 commandments of project selection. The 10 commandments will go along way towards ensuring that your improvement efforts are a success and not a failure. Failures can only make the situation worse for your organization.

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