Here are some questions I have developed over the years - which I often use to help people take a different perspective on their system / process. I present them as 'solutions looking for problems' - so some of them will fit - and others will not. You will only know if you ask the question...
- Have we agreed the stakeholder requirements?
- Are the providers involved adequately trained?
- Are there too many ‘handovers’
- Is the process being done in the right order?
- Could it be made simpler with a ‘triage’ stage?
- Could we make better use of technology?
- Where are the sources of rework?
- Why does performance vary – and by how much?
- Could some parts of the process be done at the same time?
- Are there too many checks and controls?
- Could we get the users / clients / etc. to do more?
- Could we get our partners or suppliers to take action?
- Could we create an expert system to make it work better?
- Is there a ‘standard’ way of carrying out the process?
- Where are the delays in the process?
- Could different people or agencies be providing the service (or part of it)?
- Have we made any cultural or professional assumptions that are getting in the way?
- Are the performance measures helping?
- Could we stop doing the process altogether?
- Are decision making protocols getting in the way?
- Does the process contribute to outcome goals?
My vision is that each of these questions is a lens to hold up to the process / system and see if it brings something useful into sharper view. Do let me know if you use them and find them useful. I have said in the past that these questions come with a guarantee - I promise you will find at least one if not several ways to improve your process / system if you ask them. No one has claimed a warranty yet... but who knows!
(This is part of a longer blog posting on my other blog. If you wish to see the whole article: http://jonharveyassociates.blogspot.com/2009/05/improving-whole-systems-with-creativity.html)