The initial Define stage will focus on the current state of functionality. Through a series of interactions with key stakeholders and observational data, a picture of the current state will be developed. This period of activity will usually include interviews, group meetings and discussions, storytelling and investigations with key stakeholders, business communities and project sponsors. Results and output from this activity may include process flow maps, SIPOC tables, organizational value stream maps, narratives and other such vehicles to clearly describe the current state. This stage will normally end with a verification of the current state from the current users and/or key stakeholders.
Using a series of analysis tools including those found in the toolboxes of Lean Six Sigma, Operational Excellence and Organizational Development the current state will be analyzed for organizational fit, process efficiency and business delivery effectiveness. Typically tools like employee competency, customer needs and managerial capability will be used in determining organizational fit; an Ishikawa cause and effect diagram (fishbone), TIMWOOD and FMEA will be applied to the business processes under review; and impact and effect matrices, stakeholder engagement and market force analysis will support the overall effectiveness assessment. This period will also include any market segment benchmarking, comparisons and considerations.
Using the output of the analyze stage, the future “to be” state is created. For some areas of the business this may reflect how they should be modified to reflect improvement opportunities but also new processes will be designed at this time to support and/or replace the larger business operation. This period of activity will include tools such as gap analysis, design thinking and voice of the customer reviews. Depending on the complexity of the area being reviewed this may also include an initial review with key stakeholders of the proposed changes and engagement with users at all points of interaction to sense check and confirm dependencies and requirement for change.
The verify stage confirms the future state with the project and business sponsors and engaged users to validate the proposed future state. This stage will typically involve user engagement discussions, presentations, recommendation reports, stakeholder meetings and community consultations. This will be an opportunity to fine tune and check dependencies for the new process as well as giving opportunity to begin the early stages of change management awareness and understanding. Depending upon the complexity of change determined, this may require multiple iterations to confirm the final “to be” state.
This is the final stage that moves the agreed process changes into reality. It begins at the verify stage and aims to move individuals through the journey of awareness, understanding, implementation, application and sustainability. Depending on the complexity of the change this can take a significant proportion of the project time as it engages a change management strategy with all impacted parties to the change (See below for Change Management Approach). When the change process is complete the new process is not only understood by the users but key takeaways for sustaining and regularly reviewing the process are embedded with the relevant activity owners.