Lean Tools – Locking down the CA in the PDCA cycle for complex business processes

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Years ago, I spent a lot of time working in kaizen teams developing and improving standard systems for business process related value streams.

Out of necessity, I developed a great little tool that helped the teams to sustain processes once they had put them in place.

This tool came about once I started to observe that the improvement teams I was working with were fantastic at developing clever innovative systems using the Plan and Do parts of the Deming PDCA cycle but struggled to communicate and implement the required Check and Act processes to keep the system in place and working. Generally, this was in situations where complex processes had to be managed across departments and sometimes even locations, making it difficult to keep communication flowing and processes standard across multiple teams.

And so the Training Tools Measurement and Management (TTMM) matrix was born. This matrix is a one stop shop for understanding all parts of a business process at the same time.

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Figure 1: An example of the Tools Techniques Measurement and Management (TTTM) matrix for a generic work order costing process

The beauty of this tool is that it helps teams to develop all the parts of a process at once, so that measuring and managing is considered at the same time as developing processes and writing procedures. It’s also easily communicated to multiple process users, making it much easier to achieve a standard approach.

Of course, following the PDCA cycle without using this matrix will lead to the same results if done properly. The TTMM matrix is just a quick and easy guideline to making sure all the bases are covered. It’s a great way to close out complex business process improvement activities and communicate to all stakeholders the key fundamental requirements to keep the process running.

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