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A Toolbook for Quality Improvement and Problem Solving (contents)

A Framework for Process Improvement: 1. Identify

The Quality Toolbook > Applications for Tools > Framework for Process Improvement > 1. Identify

Identify | Define | Problem | Cause | Solution | Implement | Review | Follow-up


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This is the overall process:



Fig. 1. The overall process


The first step in a process improvement project is to identify the process which is to be improved. This may be obvious or a given situation, for example when dealing with a known problem or where measurement of an existing process indicates a need for further attention. However, there may be a number of known potential improvement projects, and the problem is now to select which project to do first.

Activities in this stage may thus include:

  • Reviewing existing measurements, looking for poorly performing processes.
  • Identifying customers, their needs, expectations and satisfaction with current processes.
  • Defining criteria for selecting candidate projects.
  • Describing candidate projects in a format that will ease selection.
  • Selecting a process to be improved.

When starting a quality improvement program, it is important to select early projects that will lend credibility to it. They should be reasonably easy to do (but not too easy!) and should give significant results. Similar care should be used when selecting subsequent projects, balancing the cost, potential benefit and chance of success.

Tools that may be used in the Identify stage are described on the Tools for the Identify stage page in the Tool Finder.


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