Friday, May 15, 2009

Business Process Improvement for Nonprofits - Part 8: Diagnosis & Assessment (Again)

The story so far:

Step 8: Diagnosis/Assessment Round Two: “If no improvement, why?” “If that worked, what else can we improve?”

This is a natural phase, especially for critical thinkers. One where you question the results, both expected and unexpected. Why did you get the ones you did? Why did you not get some you hoped for? Have you accounted for these things?

1. Inertia: some people want to keep doing things the way they have for some time. They would still use Windows 3.11 and WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS.

2. Hidden resistance: not the people kind, the process kind. Were your workflow diagrams realistic, honest depictions of what is really going on, or idealistic hopes about what should be happening?

3. Environment: did something happen during the testing phase you did not plan for? When people are faced with a stressful situation, they will naturally revert to what they know works. Perhaps something unusual occurred that took the testers off mission.

4. Flaws: are there parts of the solution that are worse than the problem you seek to address? If so, are there other aspects of the whole solution that will counter-balance them?

Be sure to make good note of what did work as well or better than expected. Those hold hints of what will work in other areas with other staff. Dig in. It's good for you!

Remember to share the results with your testers and be honest. They deserve to see how their actions, intentional and not, impacted the results. They also may be a good source of insight on both the causes of undesirable outcomes and the keys to better ones.

(The next post will be the last in this series.)

1 comment:

Rebecca Lorenz said...

Such a nice idea I really appreciate the article. Thanks for sharing the idea.