In recent weeks I have been learning loads about Past Business Review (PBR) operational management from my colleague Thomas Henderson. Thomas works with his clients’ to make sure that we are delivering across all the PBR deliverables (Quality, Productivity, attrition, Cost).
One small example of the kind of metrics that Thomas asks our People Leaders to manage carefully is shrinkage, which is a new concept to me, but a concept that I find powerful in it’s application. Shrinkage measures the time lost to non-core production, through expected and unexpected downtime.
With this Thomas works with our teams to reduce our shrinkage to ensure we are as efficient as we can be, working towards an optimum of 10% or less (15% while in a route to competence phase). In our current engagements, so far we are not only achieving this they have improved shrinkage dramatically just by measuring it.
It is the first time I have heard of this production metric, but I really like it. (one of the unintended consequences of the metric is it has made me question the balance of my own time between productive working and other activities. Try it yourself while you read the rest of this article. I am a very long way from Thomas’s 10% shrinkage target).
Avoiding the Spiral/Ensure the Flywheel
The start of a project is vital to ensure your project gets on a positive flywheel and starts to deliver, and the application of the right controls and monitoring the right management information is vital to a good start. Let me explain:
A review can spiral out of control if quality is managed badly, QA will be stretched, QA backlogs will grow, rework will be high, case handlers will lose their accreditation status and need re-accrediting or be let go from the review. All these negatively impact the project and result in an over-running project, dissatisfied customers and cost over-runs.
Conversely a project that delivers high quality outcomes and case decisions from an early stage will mean that QA stay on top of their workload, QA has time to provide constructive feedback to case handlers, which increases both quality and productivity. All projects aim for this positive, supportive flywheel that result in a project that delivers on time and on budget.
Of course shrinkage is only one metric in a projects MI and it certainly is not a cure all, but I like it because it is clear and specific, and points to starting a PBR on the right basis. Establishing strong operational control is one of the key elements that puts a PBR on a positive Flywheel.
As part of our work with PBRs we will often support projects by offering insights from our experience. No project is the same, they all have different needs, but there are some common tools. We are always happy to talk about the best practice we see whether it is in the quality of case decisions and of customer outcome, team productivity or overall project management. Email Thomas Henderson or Mark Davies for a chat.