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What does your data tell you? This phase is often intertwined with the Measure Phase. As data is collected, the team may consist of different people who will collect different sets of data or additional data. As the team reviews the data collected during the Measure Phase, they may decide to adjust the data collection plan to include additional information. This continues as the team analyzes both the data and the process in an effort to narrow down and verify the root causes of waste and defects.

Closely examine the process

After creating, verifying and examining detailed process maps created in the Measure Phase, the team will be able to list concerns or pain points within the process. This allows the team to take advantage of the collective wisdom of process participants. Then, the team can determine the value of each step by performing analyzing the process by performing “Process Analysis” which consists of:

  • Time Analysis: focuses on the actual time work is being done in the process in versus the time spent waiting. What teams discover is that whereas people are 99% busy, “things” are 99% idle.
  • Value Added Analysis: adds another dimension of discovery by looking at the process through the eyes of the customer to uncover the cost of doing business.
  • Value Stream Mapping: combines process data with a map of the value-adding steps to help determine where Waste can be removed.

Visually inspect the data

After data collection, the team will be able to display the data using charts and graphs for visual indications for problems in the process. The transformation of numbers into visuals allows the team to easily communicate their findings to leadership and other process participants.

Brainstorm potential cause(s) of the problem

Teams are able to develop theories around possible causes of the problem by brainstorming together. By using a tool called a “Cause & Effect Diagram“, the teams are able to perform structured brainstorming that can help them narrow down to the vital few causes of lost time, defects and waste in the process.

Verify the cause(s) of the problem

Before moving on to the next phase (Improve), the team must confirm the proposed root cause is creating the problem by verifying their data through process analysis, data analysis, process observation and comparative analysis.

Update your Project Charter

After the team has further investigated the data, they will have additional detail around process performance and the potential for improvement. The team can update their Charter with the additional information so they have a more accurate reflection of the project status.

What’s next?