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How does the process currently perform? Measurement is critical throughout the life of the project and as the team focuses on data collection initially they have two focuses: determining the start point or baseline of the process and looking for clues to understand the root cause of the process. Since data collection takes time and effort it’s good to consider both at the start of the project.

Determine how the process currently performs

First, your team must establish the current state, or the “baseline” of the process before making any changes. The baseline becomes the standard against which any improvement is measured. This is a key step as the data collected will be used throughout the life of your project.

Look for what might be causing problem

To do this, your team collects data and reviews it to try to uncover the reasons, or the “root cause” for Waste in the process or defects as a result of the process.

Create a plan to collect the data

Once the team has determined how to find both baseline and root cause data, they must consider where to get the data, how much to get and who will do the collecting. A well-thought out data collection plan is critical as the data that is gathered must be accurate and reliable.

Ensure your data is reliable

By defining, testing and refining their measurements throughout the life of the project, the team will be able to make good decisions on sound information. This ensures future corrective action is based on facts and data, rather than assumptions and opinions.

Update your project charter

Once the team has conducted their initial data collection they will have more details around process performance, potential causes and potential goals. This data is incorporated into the Charter to more accurately describe the issue.

What’s next?