MANAGING LARGE IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
Large Projects Need a Tracking Process
Mature improvement programs should strive to have a combination of efforts:
- Everyone improving their part of the process every day and
- Larger cross-functional projects that require a concentrated team effort over some time.
These larger improvement projects need to be selected, resourced and tracked by leaders.
Solicit improvement ideas from all levels. Leaders should then screen them by checking for clear alignment with the business objectives, then rank them by Impact and Effort.
Scope improvement projects for completion in less than 3 months. Smaller intense efforts can be achieved in 1 week. In no case should a project exceed 6 months in duration. The longer the improvement project takes, the less likely that it will complete successfully.
Off-loaded from enough work from the facilitator and team members are to allow them adequate time to dedicate to the improvement project. Facilitators should spend between 25% and 50% of their time on the project and team members between 10% and 25%.
Deploy a project tracking database. Require facilitators to update their projects at least once per month.
Leaders should expect monthly project updates and assign active projects with a color:
Green – making progress
Yellow – progress slowing, in danger
Red – Project stalled, needs help.
Nomenclature for tracking improvement projects:
Proposed – Ideas that align with the business strategy and have reasonable Effort X Impact opportunity. The short-listed ideas have been assigned a title and a brief description.
Active – Project teams which have started meeting should have a signed project charter (sometimes referred to as a project contract).
Control – improvements have been fully implemented. The project is in the 12-month financial look back period.
Complete – Project was completed successfully. A 12-month look back has been completed or closed with no financial benefit expected.
Canceled – Formally an active project that was postponed or concealed.
Report on projects monthly and don’t hesitate to cancel projects that stop making progress.