The federal government should adopt a very simple process improvement paradigm that every employee can relate to, is easy to understand and fits on one printable page. The book, The Power of Six Sigma by Subir Chowdhury, is what motivates the idea I'm suggesting. I used the technique he describes and it helped me to improve information security and employee satisfaction regarding resource availability. I have a more detailed case study and statistical performance results to demonstrate it works.
All too often, people run around working solutions that attack the symptoms or a problem, rather than determining the root cause and then working to fix it.
A simple paradigm based on six sigma, as Chowdhury describes, would be easy for people to understand. Here is the framework that should be promoted.
- *Define* the problem from the customer perspective. The Chowdhury book uses the example of a pizza shop trying to resolve customer complaints about burnt pizzas and employee complaints about being burned by the ovens.
- *Measure* where we are now and where we'd like to be (performance goal setting) in the future.
- *Analyze* the current process for providing the product/service. Look not just at the symptoms of problems, but determine what is causing them.
- *Improve* the process for creating/providing the product/service. Following on the previous step, look to find the root causes of problems, rather than trying to throw a fix the symptoms. Using the pizza example, the answer is not to provide the cooks with more safety gear and ask them to better monitor the pizza cooking time. This only yields limited improvements and is a band-aid solution. The answer is to use a better oven that cooks evenly and is safer.
- *Control* the results. Validate that product has improved the outcomes and continue using the overall process to refine things until you achieve your performance goals.