We Asked 100,000 Performance Improvement Leaders How They Prioritize Projects


Last week we asked a group of over 100,000 performance improvement leaders how they were prioritizing their performance improvement projects this year, as our organizations builds our list of projects.

They’re members of the most helpful linkedin groups for improvement specialists called the “Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma, and Lean Group.”

They didn’t mince words. Seemingly simple advice, that can have huge impacts:

1. Focus on Small Wins that Align with Strategy to Build Momentum: Seek small wins that align with overall business strategy and corporate objectives. By doing so, you can build momentum and develop an improvement culture. As performance is enhanced, projects will become transformative for the organization over time.

2. Consider the Size of Waste and Loss: Mobilize a cost deployment team to analyze the waste and loss in your operation with real intelligence, run cost deployment matrices to identify significant issues, and prioritize based on the potential impact.

3. Go for Ease of Implementation and Impact on Cash Flow: Analyze the resources required to implement projects and consider the impact they have on cash flow. These are indicators of priority.

4. Force Rank Relative to Business Goals: Identify what the organization wants to spend in different departments, and populate a matrix to rank potential projects that are low-risk, low-gain to high-risk, high-gain.

5. Take a Look at Corporate Priorities and Vote: After projects have been identified at a high level, carry out facilitated and structured brainstorming exercises and multiple rounds of voting with sponsors of projects. Cross representation should build a consensus on priorities.

6. Empower the Focused Improvement Pillar: Ensure that the people identified as Focused Improvement Pillars (FI Pillar) have the resources required to maximize effectiveness and to address the wastes and losses in the operation. They likely have the ability to prioritize projects.

7. Leverage Lean and Six-Sigma Tools Available: Consider frequently used lean and six-sigma approaches, like creating a Pareto Chart, a Critical to Quality (CTQ) drill down, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Min Max Analysis, or Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) prioritization. Priorities may become clear with such analyses.

8. Complete Planning Triage: Senior leadership teams and business units can discuss and select projects and identify project sponsors. This garners buy in throughout multiple levels of the organization, and helps build project queues.

9. Custom Project Prioritization Matrix for Business Generated Improvement Ideas: Build a pipeline of projects requested by the business rather than forced on business units. The matrix can include a variety of questions weighted in terms of importance, and scored. The priority projects go to panel for review and sign off, provided success critiera for the project has been defined.

To learn more about how SITEFLO customers prioritize improvement projects, and build momentum with small wins:

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