A guide to implementation and management of improvement projects, based on problem solving techniques.
How to fill in the form of an improvement project.
The improvement regarding the quality of a product, service, process or ones’s own life, is a process that takes place gradually, using appropriate tools.
One of the most effective and simplest tool is the FORM named “IMPROVEMENT PROJECT” which can be downloaded here.
The project must always be related to a problem whose solution has been scheduled and it has to be tackled by analyzing the initial data, giving weight to the important factors, ignoring the many unimportant data and talking only with known facts.
The improvement project has a double purpose:
- – It plays the role of a corrective action, when it is used to rectify a situation
- – It plays the role of a preventive action, when it is used to modify and prevent risky situations.
It ‘s very important to develop the Improvement Project according to a given logic. Preferably, this logic should be the shared by all those who develop projects within the organization. Those people should also use specific documents that should be compiled according to clearly defined criteria.
The improvement project must meet and fulfil the following characteristics:
- IT MUST HAVE A SPECIFIC SUBJECT
- IT MUST HAVE ONE OR MORE ‘CLEARLY DEFINED GOALS
- IT REQUIRES ONE PERSON OR MORE PEOPLE WHO ARE ENTRUSTED WITH THE TASK TO COMPLETE THE PROJECT
- IT PROVIDES THE APPLICATION OF APPROPRIATE TOOLS AND METHODS
- IT REQUIRES OBSERVANCE OF PROCEDURES FOR ITS DEVELOPMENT
- IT HAS A LIMITED TIME FOR ITS COMPLETION (DEADLINE)
- IT PROVIDES THE VERIFICATION OF THE ACHIEVED RESULTS
Problem Solving: a Scientific method to solve a problem
The problem solving techniques are based on the implementation of the following 7 points:
- problem identification and problem definition
- information and data collection
- formulation of hypotheses on possible causes
- identification of the most probable cause or causes
- search for the solution and the most effective corrective actions
- implementation of a plan of action
- verification of results with the collection of monitoring data.
Form Structure and its filling
The improvement project form (available at the following link: Form Improvement Project) consists of 7 pages that have the specific function of representing, tracking and documenting the work performed during the project.
By following the guided steps for its filling in, we have a simple and easy guide to implementing and conducting improvement projects.
The first page should provide all the needed information to identify and understand the handled arguments without reading the entire project:
- N °: sequence number that is assigned to the improvement project
- DEPARTMENT/AREA: indicates the Department or the area affected by the problem
- TITLE: summarizes the topic covered by the project
- START DATE: allows you to place the project in time
- PROJECT MANAGER: he may not have any task in the project, he must be the coordinator and guarantee of the project development as well as the abidance of the procedure .
- The main tool of the Project Manager is page n°4 “Program and progress status of the project.”
- He has also to fill page n°6 “Results and concluding remarks.”
- PARTICIPANTS OF THE WORKSHOP: The list of persons directly involved in the project.
- The second page contains all the specific detailed information about the Project:
- PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The macro steps that lead to the goal and what is expected result
- GOAL: the solution of the causes and their effects
- RESOURCES: machinery, materials, methods and man (manpower) that are involved (the 4M)
- THE EXPECTED DURATION: This information is crucial in order to avoid that the project is set aside.
- For the success of the project it is essential to set a deadline as realistic as possible and let it known to all participants in the project.
The third page provides all the information on the participants in the workgroup.
All the necessary data for their identification can be found, even after some time, and the individual roles within the project are defined in detail.
The fourth page describes the program and the project progress.
All the project phases must be numbered (expected intervention). The responsible for each step must be indicated together with the starting date of each task, the scheduled one and the actual closing date.
At the end of each task it is important to write a brief description of the obtained results in order to start the subsequent interventions in the most correct way.
Each responsible for intervention listed on page No.4 has to have a copy of this page in order to summarize what has been done by him or whoever, with reference to what was required.
The column “Change” serves as “index” by which you can quickly identify the most significant points of the task (the ones with the most important considerations).
Every meeting should be minuted in a synthetic way.
The last page must be completed by the Project Manager who has to write the final result, in order to evaluate it even after some time.