Preparation 1. Choose a process

This is the simplest part: Any process will do.

Any Process will do…

Why? Because virtually every process is full of losses, so whatever you are going to dig into: you will be able to achieve vast improvements.
However there are some issues to consider.

  • Choose a process within the span of control of the team; or
  • Choose a team that covers the complete span of control over the chosen process
! It is not a bad idea to consider your first Makigami as a learning event.

The first Makigami as Learning Event

The goal is: Learning!

Decision 1: What is your goal?

Your First Makigami’s primary goal is not the improvement (although there will be good results);

The primary goal is the learning of the methodology, the ‘change dynamics’ the pitfalls etc.

This might get down the pressure and create a more ‘safe’ space for the participants to feel free and playful when learning to work with the Makigami methodology.

The first learning in this topic is: how to decide what process to choose.

  • What is the process of concern?
  • Formulate the problem/phenomenon short, concrete and specific

Decision 2: From where to where?

A business-processes is not a separate ‘thing’ in an organization; many processes work together making a system. So it is not always clear where your process starts and where it ends. Actually defining a start and end-point will always be a more or less artificial cut.

  • Define a clear start and endpoint. Find points that will be easily to recognize: i.e. ‘The moment where form x is complete’ or ‘The moment where the customer confirms the order’.
  • Allow the team to redefine those points during the analysis. Maybe you defined the process too wide or too narrow.

WHY do you choose THIS process?

Name the Reason for selecting this theme:

  • Show with figures and graphs the magnitude of the problem, justifying that action must be undertaken
  • Show costs, per week, per month.
  • Show Loss trends, frequency
  • Show Pareto diagram
  • ‘Visualize’ problem; using examples, photos, graphs.

When you are already focused on eliminating losses in your organization, your first question would be:

Can/Do you choose for ‘Where are the biggest losses’?

Looking for the biggest losses, you might find out one or more of the following:

  • in contrary to more physical environments like a factory or a Röntgen room, in business processes there are no hard tangible indicators for losses to use when choosing criteria.
  • It is hard to tell which office-process is a bottleneck in achieving your main goals
  • It is difficult to tell which processes are mission critical, which are highly supportive and which are secondary or even just ‘nice to have’
  • It is not obvious which process causes the most frustration/workload/trouble etc.

The next learning is: improving needs not always to start based on quantifiable reasons.

The role of ‘Acceptance’

When there is no clear quantifiable reason to choose a process (and even so when there would be one…) a good rule of thumb in choosing a process, is the ‘change rule’:

! E = Q x A

The EFFECT of a change-effort will be determined by its QUALITY on one hand and its ACCEPTANCE by the involved crew on the other.

In other words: if you cannot say much about Q, then go for A, for high Acceptance. To motivate people to go into change, ask them what process, what part of their work, they would like to change.

The question could be rephrased as: 

“Which process is annoying, is causing trouble, is frustrating you?

Which part of your work would you like to change?

Where do you see opportunities for improvement?”

Find a subject that carries ‘energy’, that ‘cries’ to be improved!

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