In operational excellence, we aim for the achievement of the six sigma, 99.99966% of quality. But this goal of perfection only applies to the quality of certain products and services. We all too often forget that for a project, we have to reduce our goal, at the risk of exceeding the budget and the deadline. Pareto’s law applies very well to project management. It can help reduce project costs.
Switching from the best solution
In a project, the team looks for the best solution. It usually starts by gathering the needs and looking for different options to meet most of these needs. Unfortunately, there is rarely a solution that meets all needs in all situations. This solution, if it exists, is often extremely complex and expensive. However, it is important to remind stakeholders that they operate in a complex environment and that they can not have everything. To satisfy them, we must offer them solutions. Agility and operational excellence both help projects to provide less expensive solutions.
to an adequate solution
Agile proposes to provide a first solution that meets a limited number of needs and situations. Once this first solution is in place and works. If there is still money, the team will refine the solution to respond to other situations or other needs. The idea is to quickly operationalize an imperfect solution instead of waiting for the ideal solution, according to one of Jack Welch’s principles.
Operational excellence aims to reduce exceptions in processes; standardization is one of the cornerstones of operational excellence. Before starting a project (or in parallel), it will look at the 20% of situations that generate 80% of the problems or issues for the project. By questioning the processes, by standardizing the ways of doing it will reduce the so expensive diversity.
When in a project, the team starts working on particular cases, “what if …”, it is high time to narrow the scope, switch to agile mode or ask operational excellence experts to simplify the existing process.