Driving Inertia on Service Improvement Initiatives

 Newtons first law of inertia states:

“an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force”

We have all been in this position at one time or another before. We have made improvements and then for whatever reason we seem to drift back into a state where we were before the improvement initiative was implemented. So the question of how we avoid losing momentum in these initiatives becomes paramount.

One of the challenges with continual service improvement (CSI) initiatives is that they remain continual. Unlike other initiatives where there is a finish, this marathon like work continues cycle after cycle. In the beginning there is a sense of excitement and this is evident in the work that is done around the processes an adoption as part of the CSI. However, if this momentum starts to fade, the areas where excitement may have had a positive contribution are starting to feel the backslide into the pre-improvement state. .

To generate and maintain inertia on our improvement initiatives, we need to look at how we define improvement overall. While it is continuous in nature, we should set up check points at regular intervals during the initiative to showcase the success or additional areas to improve. (Quarterly for example) Because this process has no real beginning or end and is cyclical in nature we need to build in our own start, and for lack of a better word,end components.

As outlined above we need to focus on business objectives. Step one is to  understand the business vision and how IT strategies will line up to this. Secondly, to keep this improvement initiative moving we need to structure it as agile as possible. Keeping initiative is iterative chunk that can demonstrate success will help us to get some positive momentum right from the start. 

The next set of activities will review what we are current capabilities are and then decide what we want to improve. Remember that we are keeping it simple over several cycles of improvement so small moves in the beginning. We may want to fix everything all at once, but keep the big picture just that – The Big Picture. You will get there way easier you break it down in small parts. 

Once we know where we want to go we can outline what actions need to be taken to get there. Since we have chosen to keep things simple in the beginning we should have a shorter list of activities to manage. On paper it looks more possible because it actually is.

What make successful initiatives successful is the ability to measure the improvement, communicate back with our stakeholders to celebrate wins as well as having transparency on areas that did not go as planned. These items are NOT losses, rather they are areas where we can learn and re-focus our improvement efforts.

Keeping things simple over the long term will allow your teams to make iterative improvements that they will be visible to the teams which they will ultimately serve.

 

 

 

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