A lot of problems can be solved with the right people thinking about them and working on them. Using a Rapid Improvement approach, you can achieve breakthrough results in a short amount of time, building momentum for your continuous improvement activities while delivering benefits to the business.
Rapid Improvement Workshop (WorkOut)
In the 1980s, General Electric (GE) developed a rapid improvement approach called "Work-Out", which GE still uses today. A WorkOut engages the people who actually do the work on a day-to-day basis, using their knowledge, experience, and passion to resolve the problem through a focused workshop approach.
- Scoping: The WorkOut business owner and the GELRAD facilitator engage with the sponsor to determine the scope of the WorkOut and specific problem to tackle. A challenge to the group might be: "Take 50% of the time and effort out of this process..."
- Planning: The owner plans the workout, invites participants, and requests that they bring relevant data that could be useful during the workshop.
- Event: After the sponsor kicks off the workshop, the team goes through a series of steps to identify the current problem(s), understand the current state and the causes of the problem, and to identify and prioritise possible solutions. Preferred solutions are developed into 30 to 45-day action plans with identified owners, resources and timing, which are then presented back to the sponsor (or a decision-making panel of 2-3 leaders). The leader(s) give a Yes/No decision and agree to sponsor the changes, and action plans begin.
- Implementation: The action plans and solutions are implemented. Progress is monitored with regular check-ins to ensure delivery.
- Replication: Success is shared/replicated in other areas that may have the same problems.
A WorkOut can be as short as 1 day or as long as 5, depending on the size and complexity of the problem being solved. Sometimes the team must pause to gather data, engage with stakeholders, or involve additional participants who were not first identified.
WorkOut Success Factors
Similar to the Problem Solving Workshop approach, an Accelerated Training approach builds capability primarily through project execution. The traditional training in the suite of tools and methods is compressed, placing greater responsibility on the participant for self-learning and application in the project.