Improvement Projects – A journey in to the unknown, full of unpredictable challenges

To successfully carry out an improvement project within any organization is a challenge to say the least.  Anyone that has experienced or participated in a large business improvement project I’m sure will agree.  Just as one challenge is overcome, another one surfaces in its place. Time to come up for air? Hardly. The worst thing is that the size of the ongoing challenges just seem to grow and grow … but that is the bumpy and unpredictable ride that is an improvement project!

To convince management to invest financially in such projects is not easy, but even more challenging is to find a working format to develop something that no one can accurately say what the end result will be. If you can manage to successfully tackle this initial hurdle, the next challenge waiting for you is to get people to embrace the new – i.e behavior/culture/way of working/organization/tools etc – that all form part and is necessary for the improvement to succeed.  Perhaps the biggest challenge however is when the hype around that change has settled, feelings of disappointment and frustration start to set in and the ‘it was probably better before’ reasoning starts to circulate around the coffee room.

Studies carried out on this suggest, not surprisingly, that a very small portion of improvement projects live up to expectations or reach their desired goal. One can argue, then, why people in general embark on such improvement projects and even more so, like in my case, why do people dedicate their entire working lives to it? The answer is, and this is probably slightly clichéd, that it’s hard to imagine a more exciting and stimulating thing in normal working life. Improvement projects offer an opportunity to symbolically set sail and travel to new unknown lands – a chance to be a Columbus in every day life.

Over a series of short stories I hope to be able to share some of my lessons learned and hopefully you can do the same in your comments. And who knows, maybe together we can improve those statistics a bit!

I aim break up the stories in to the following phases:Johannes Vänngård's Barium Live! Blog TopicsSpeak again soon,
Johannes Vänngård
Management Consultant & BPM Expert

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