• The Path to Better Improvement - PAIN!

    Part 1 of 2
    This article is drawn from my ITSM consulting practice, where finding “quick wins” is a common and preferred tactic when planning a process implementation. And surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be much written on how to find these “quick wins”.
    Conducting a pain point analysis is one of the common improvement exercises and workshops that I facilitate to find both quick wins and longer term initiatives. The purpose of the pain point analysis is to first identify the pains that have most meaning to the organization, and then determine solutions that lessen the pain. The keys to success are to ensure that we prioritize our pain points and that we break down our solutions to find the quick wins. A side benefit to this method is the building of support and enthusiasm for your project initiatives as a result of involving key stakeholders in the pain point analysis.
    The main ingredient to start a pain point analysis is creativity. This is the fun part! Tell us about your pains! And remember that pain loves company, so share your pains as a group brainstorm exercise! All kidding aside, creativity is stimulated by a group environment. The group environment also serves some secondary purposes - one of providing a team-building opportunity, but more importantly one of building a “culture for acceptance, support, and enthusiasm” for the resulting improvement initiatives.
    This creativity exercise can be helped along by using visual cues. I find post-it notes a great way to allow for writing it down quickly and posting it along a process flow, systems flow, or service flow. These ideas are then combined and assessed at the end of the brainstorm.
    Continuing on, we now have lots of post-it notes. Now what? Here’s where we use our logical thinking to mix n match. Most often the same pains are voiced in different ways. These points should be combined to provide a simplified list of unique pain points that we can then sequence by most important to least important. It sounds easy, but if you’ve ever done this you know there’s lots of different opinion and debate. My preferred method - that also controls much of the debate - is to use a comparative analysis where each pain point is compared to all the others and thus results in a final ranking. This can be done individually and combined or done as a group.
    We’ve now produced our meaningful, summarized, and prioritized pain points list. In the next article we will identify and choose our improvement plans and find quick wins.
    Graham Furnis is fully immersed and passionate in providing ITSM solutions. He is a business-driven IT professional with 20+ years of technology and management experience. He is certified as an ITIL Manager and Expert as well as an accredited instructor.

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