How does the process currently perform? Or in other words, what is the magnitude of the problem? Measurement is critical throughout the life of the project. As the team starts collecting data they focus on both the process as well as measuring what customers care about. That means initially there are two focuses: reducing lead time or improving quality. In the Measure Phase, the team refines the measurement definitions and determines the current performance or the baseline of the process.
Determine How the Process Currently Performs
First, teams establish the current state or the “baseline” of the process before making any changes. The baseline becomes the standard against which the team measures their improvement. This is a key step as the data collected during the Measure Phase is compared against the data collected in the Improve Phase to confirm the improvement.
Create a Plan to Collect the Data
Once the team determines what to measure as the process baseline, they must consider where to get the data, how much to collect, who will get it and how. A well-thought-out Data Collection Plan is critical since accurate and reliable data are the key to good decision making.
Tools: Data Collection Plan
Ensure the Data is Reliable
Defining and refining the process measurements leads to collecting sound information. This enables the team to make good project decisions. This ensures future corrective action is based on facts and data rather than assumptions and opinions.
Tools: Operational Definitions
Gather the Baseline Data
Data collection is usually a mix of gathering system information, creating reports and manually collecting information that is not readily available. The team creates Check Sheets for the manual data and continue until they have a reliable measure of the project baseline.
Tools: Check Sheet
Update Your Project Charter
Once the team has conducted their initial data collection they will have more details around process performance and potential goals. The team updates their Project Charter as collected data more accurately describes the problem and the goal.
Tools: Project Charter