How to draft a plan of improvement

In our previous blogs, we discussed the importance of determining the happy flow and addressing the bottle necks. Once you’ve asked all necessary questions, you can take concrete steps towards creating your own application. Key to this process is a nicely timed series of ‘what ifs.’

Alternative scenarios, subsequent steps

What if we would leave these process steps out? What if we would add another step? What if we would create an application that sends text messages in addition to emails? Such questions allow you to broaden your horizon and come to an actionable plan of improvement.

However, it is essential to write down all subsequent steps, because one single change in your process will likely cause a so-called ripple effect: many other steps will be affected by it. Therefore, you need to check if this change will not result in any problems later in the process and if it will create a desirable overall outcome.

By way of example, let’s have a look at the above mentioned text message solution. Suppose an employee with a commercial position receives tons of emails each day, which often causes new account requests to end up on the bottom of the pile. This, in turn, leads to unwanted and unnecessary delays.

So, you could try to create an application that first sends out an email, but that also sends text message reminders at set intervals. And if said the employee does not respond to the latter, the application may ultimately send the request to an authorized co-worker.

Now, it is important to ‘tell’ yourself the subsequent story: write down exactly what would happen next, taking the smallest steps into account. That way, you can see if the application you have in mind will work in practice!

Making decisions, drafting a plan

If all the steps lead to a desired result, you can definitively opt for a specific solution. When writing down your plan of improvement, be short and concise: in most cases, one page will suffice. Using this plan, you can create the first version of your application, which you will continuously improve.

The reason why it’s important to make something tangible quickly is that once created, your application will allow you to make improvements by trial and error. If it does not yet yield the hoped-for result, you can easily go back to your series of ‘what-if questions’ and adjust the application where needed!

Keep in mind that changing a lot at once can make your improvement process very slow. You’d want to offer your users new features as soon as possible, so it’s recommended that you divide this process into phases. Keep an eye on our blog to read more about this subject in 2018.

Author: Rutger Boomars

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