Why are Process Improvement Projects Different?
By Frank Parth
Process improvement projects are fraught with dangers, even the small ones. Clearly defining the boundaries of the project is critical If this is not done carefully, it is almost certain that someone in the organisation will assume the project is making a change to part of a process when there was no intention of making that change. This will result in a missing interface to either data or to another process. The end result is a failed project, with management feeling that these projects are a waste of time and effort.
More critical even than this is the changes that will be implemented if the project is successful. The IT portions of the project will not be a problem, that just requires money and expertise. What will make the project successful, or destroy the work entirely, is getting the employees to buy into the new processes. Anything that impacts how people do their day to day job is treacherous. You’re threatening the one thing that provides them an income and impacts their social relationships at work.. If you don’t believe this is important to them, you will likely not do the right things on the project and it will fail.
Frank Parth, MS, MSSM, MBA, PMP is the President of Project Auditors LLC. Mr. Parth brings 30 years experience in project/program management and technology development to his teaching and consulting work. Mr. Parth has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics, a Masters in Systems Management from USC, and an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management (now the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School). He has published numerous papers in project management and systems engineering and is an international speaker. Most recently he presented “Controlling Scope in International Projects” to PMI’s EMEA 2008 convention in Malta. He is actively involved with the PMI, having served on both local and national committees and is PMI’s Project Manager for the Standard for Program Management, 2nd edition.