A Project Management Approach Led Process Improvement ( Case Study)
No set of processes can be absolute in a growing organization. With changes in factors like demand, resource availability, organizational growth and many more, organizations often revisit their standard processes to optimize them in accordance with the current scenario. Process management should be continuous as only with the optimal process can an organization remain successful. However, it is observed that improvement in one process may have a negative effect on other processes. For example, an increase in production due to the improved production process is bound to create issues when it comes to processes related to the procurement of resources or the process of storing and distributing the finalized products. This leads to the need for project management led to process improvement.
I am Grace and I had recently come across a similar challenge while working with a toy-making company.
The organization has recently started its business in multiple new territories and the top management was aware that they will not be able to meet the demand with the current production rate. They believed that the answer to this problem was to increase production by redesigning the production process. But what seemed like a simple solution paved the way to multiple other issues. A couple of major issues missed while making this decision were:
- No proper metrics were identified to objectify the actual increase in production.
- Effects on the procurement of resources, delivery, and warehousing for complete products were completely missed.
With the deficits in the plan, the company finally decided to take the help of a project management company (in which I worked) to manage the process improvement it desired.
Being a PMP certified professional and has worked in the project management spectrum for over 8 years, I have an understanding that any process improvement should come with the following high-level overview.
- Identifying and documenting the current process can be revisited during the later stages of the process.
- Analyzing the current process and deciding on the matrix for time to market, customer satisfaction, resource utilization, cost per unit.
- Analyzing the process as documented to make improvements.
- Design and develop changes.
- Validate the design.
- Review the changes and compare it with the desired baseline.
The very first step was to develop a plan with the tentative timeline along with impending monitory effects. The next step was to identify other processes that would be touched by this change and identify which of these processes might require changes. Various stakeholders were identified and interviewed to obtain precise and detailed knowledge of the business and processes that might see changes. A change management team was also created which was assigned the task of communicating the changes throughout the company. Regular evaluations were also conducted to make sure that the changes were in accordance with the change objective.
The task was challenging and I had to use all that I had learned during my PMP certification in this project. With the application of an extensive project management approach, we were able to improve the existing process of the company. The production saw a 30% increase without straining any other process. With proper communication and iterative improvement, the transitions were smooth and effective. Although several processes had to be revisited, the final set of processes were fully capable of addressing the increase in demand.