I launched my consulting business before the term, kaizen, became widely used as a synonym for continuous, incremental improvement. Most of my consulting engagements have been focused on innovation, strategy, roadmapping, new products, systems engineering or platform engineering – the “greenfield” thinking that creates a new future. My process improvement engagements have been focused on large-scale process transformation; re-architecting a knowledge-intensive process around a new methods engine.
I have often used a Decision Blitz event to jump-start these engagements. A Decision Blitz captures the decision baseline behind the current strategy, product design or process design. A proven decision pattern is the key to a rapid, efficient Decision Blitz; the pattern enables me to quickly capture the thinking (e.g. process design decisions) behind the AS-IS process. This gives me quite a bit more than an accurate definition of the AS-IS process flow; it exposes the thinking that created the AS-IS process so I can better understand and evaluate the effects of any proposed changes.
With a decision pattern, you don’t have to be the original process architect to expose and revisit the decisions behind an existing process. It’s likely that the original process engineers did or documented very little formal decision analysis to create the design; however, they did make a network of decisions that created the current flow, tools, work products and interfaces. The Decision Blitz captures these decisions (fundamental questions/issues that demand an answer/solution) and the answers (alternatives) and whatever selection rationale can be found or inferred behind each process design decision. This decision framework can then be used to “forward-engineer” any process improvements by highlighting the “vital few” decisions for tradeoff analysis. The decision model can also serve as a light-weight innovation framework for brainstorming improvements across multiple process design decisions.
It’s a small step to turn a Kaizen Blitz into a Decision Blitz. Your teams will need:
- A proven process/capability design decision pattern; available today within the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF).
- Training for one team member or a black belt facilitator on how to quickly map an AS-IS process to the decision pattern.
- Training on how to use a Decision Breakdown Structure (DBS) as an innovation and evaluation framework.
If you’re interested in adding some decision depth to your next Kaizen Blitz, please take a look at the Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF). Start your free trial of DDSF by contacting the Decision Driven® Solutions team at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.