ShoreTel is serious about continuous improvement.
To address day-to-day business problems, we are arming a super-user community with new tools. Combined, these tools and processes make up ShoreTel’s Quality Management program.
Based on the principles of Lean Six Sigma (the managerial concept of Lean and Six Sigma that results in the elimination of the seven kinds of wastes), our goal is to incorporate business analytics with project focus. The super user’s clear understanding of the project allows them to provide immediate impact by identification of current actions and key personnel. This new approach is “inside out focused.” In short, the defined customer leads the outcome of the project.
Step 1: Define the business problem.
All projects begin with a definitive business problem. The super user knows this as the null hypothesis. (Special note: if you don’t have a business problem, you don’t have a project.)
For instance, if someone says we do not have documentation, this is not a project. This is simply lack of documentation. This is what is called a “Just do it” or JDI (Not a project. Action item.)
The Business Problem is represented by Ho (the null hypothesis). This is what you are solving and usually speaks to the evidence to begin the project. Everything the company works on should have a business return that can be documented and measured in financial terms. It always begins with the business need.
- Question the hypothesis: Is this truly a business problem? Should we accept the null hypothesis?
- Summarize the problem: Write a brief summary of the problem and how it impacts the business. This summary should focus on impact to the customer, financial lost opportunity, etc. This will become your charter statement at a later date
- Collect Data: How do we know this is an issue? What is the major performance indicator that should reflect the success or failure of the project?
- Decide amount of evidence/data needed: How much is enough?
- Testing Timeline: Determine a real life time period which has at least 20 data points (generally a month will suffice as you have 20 business days, one data point per day)
- Isolate the in and out of Scope: The best tool to use for this is a Paretoas it does the reverse math. (An expanded bar chart that allows you to highlight the most important among a typically large set of factors. It often represents the most common sources of defects, the highest occurring type of defect, or the most frequent reasons for customer complaints, and so on.)
- Review Current Process: It will be referred to as the “As Is” process (today’s process prior to improvement efforts).
Stay tuned for project initiation tomorrow.