Part 2 of 2.
Written by Graham Furnis
My last article left us with a “meaningful, summarized, and prioritized pain points list”. We got here with the results of some good brainstorming sessions and some logical filtering. All part of a pain point analysis.
With this installment, we take our pains list and derive our solutions and quick wins. The technique suggested here is surprisingly similar to the first round of pain point analysis; apply some brainstorming and creativity followed by some logical assessment.
We start the solutions finding with a main ingredient of creativity. How can we solve our most “painful” issues? Here’s where it’s important to have prioritized the pains list, which allows us to focus on the most important things first and not to be distracted by low value pains. Identical to our initial steps in identifying pains in the first place, this exercise benefits from a group exercise in brainstorming. And secondary to creativity, team solutions brainstorming creates a “culture for buy-in” for the resulting improvement initiatives.
I usually conduct multiple rounds of this brainstorming activity, and guide it with problem solving skills to be sure we are solving the root cause of the pains (refer to my previous articles on problem solving). With the root causes of the pains identified, each round of problem solving aims to find an appropriate set of solutions. I usually find the first round of solutions tend to be long term and broad based in nature. Each subsequent round tries to break these down into smaller ones – and ultimately into quick wins. This activity is actually fairly simple with some good coaching by the team facilitator.
The final stage is to merge and sequence the solutions. Depending on the scope of the improvement, this can be quite a complicated task. This is where the Deming Improvement Principle of “keep it small” should be adhered to. Finding dependencies and merging solutions will produce a list of quick wins that can be acted on immediately and then promoted to show success. This will provide momentum as we proceed into our mid-term implementations and ultimately into longer term solutions.