4 Rules of Process: Rule #1

Rule #1 – It must be defined by those planning the work

This is the foundation of good process.  In my experience with developing Standard Work and Leader Standard work, there have been variations on how to approach creating a process that is stable, repeatable, and effective to where the process produces the planned results.

One approach is very “hands off” where leaders delegate the formation and implementation to those actually doing the work.  At first this sounds like an empowering approach but in reality it almost never works for standardization.

It usually occurs in actions and activities that are not aligned with the higher level strategy; a lot of effort and actions but little value or contribution the KPI or other metrics.

A better way is to, as the leader, own the definition of the process by answering one or more of the following questions:

  1. What problem are we trying to solve?
  2. What value is it trying to add?
  3. What outcome is intended?
  4. How will completion directly impact the target?

This approach is not unilateral however.  It is necessary to play catch ball with those who will be doing the work.  This will ensure they buy in to the process but it is up to the leader to define the parameters to make sure no effort is wasted.

Breaking Rule #1

If a process is not clearly defined, it will be up to the individual worker to know how to get the job done; this means that the process will be done differently by different people

A short time ago it became necessary to be present on the production floor for the night shift.  Though a significant interruption to my normal schedule I welcomed the opportunity to observe a different shift / team perform the same activities.

It was interesting to talk to the operator through the changeovers and startups.  They were aligned with the end goal – minimizing downtime during changeovers.  The difference was how to get there.

The night shift operator did many of the same tasks , however, in a different order.  But, they also did some of the steps differently.  The data would support, less efficiently and effectively.

Fortunately the operator was open to some input and best practice sharing.  To top it off, the next hour was the second highest production rate ever recorded since our startup 1.5 years ago.

Defining the process for the operator enable them to run at a rate they had never run before.

Kudos to the team and kudos to the 1st rule of process – It must be defined by those planning the work.

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