Focus recently finalized a second LEAN Rapid Action program dedicated to improving the project kick-off process. The “Smart Start” LEAN team was developed with one goal in mind; to establish a consistent and reliable project kick-off procedure. The team focused on 4 key aspects of kick-off success; minimizing extra work, establishing a clear delineation of responsibility, adherence to contract terms and developing individual accountability within the team.
LEAN, a method for creating a more effective business by systematically reviewing and improving internal processes, focuses on creating efficiencies that provide long-term value. As a company that has been around for over 25 years, Focus recognizes this kind of reflection and change is critical to ensure that we are effectively vetting new methods and improving on systems already in place.
For this particular project, Focus’ management team selected individuals from every department to work together in developing this new system. Representatives from the Accounting, Construction, Development and Marketing departments, together with our consulting firm, Leap Technologies systematically investigated the current project kick-off process and all of the associated assets and processes to determine where pain points and logjams may or may not exist. From there, the team analyzed its findings, developed potential solutions and divided action items such that everyone “championed” one or two key aspects of the new kick-off solution.
Though certain action items may be assigned to a particular team member, the LEAN process requires that team members set aside large meeting blocks on a weekly basis where each idea or action item is vetted, discussed and then executed by the team as a whole. “Champions” are responsible for shepherding their particular idea from investigation through to action. The methodical approach of LEAN is also squeezed into a tight 60-day timeline, where it gets the name “Rapid Action”.
The Smart Start team recently presented their approach to establishing a consistent and reliable project kick-off procedure to Focus’ executive team. Their rapid action results include tools like contract abstract templates, role and responsibility charts and follow up surveys. These tools along with their written process for executing the project kick-off meeting make up the Smart Start kick-off process. Focus plans to beta test the new process on several upcoming projects during which the Smart Start team will collect data related to project success, workloads and team feedback to incorporate and improve the new system.
The Lean process’ systematic approach to improvement fits well within Focus’ vernacular. As a small company, Focus values its ability to access and adapt to changing realities quickly. With the skills learned through our use of the LEAN process, Focus is better able to quickly and systematically access business systems and improve them where possible.
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