Continuous improvement & ITAM: Apply an proven improvement method and focus on getting results

When we talk with ITAM stakeholders, we notice they have many good ideas on what should be improved. Unfortunately, these good ideas are hardly ever translated into real improvements.

TIP #52 - July 2020: Continuous improvement & ITAM: Apply an proven improvement method and focus on getting results

What is the reason behind this? Are the improvement plans too ambitious? Is the complexity of ITAM hampering us? Or maybe we simply don’t have the methods or tools?

That last one is an easy one to fix. Improvement methods are underexposed in the ITAM field, even though methods like Lean and Process Excellence are generally well-known. Why not start with a model that is easy to adopt like the pragmatic PDCA cycle?

You can use this model to create a structure for improvement by following all PDCA steps: Plan, Do, Check and Act. Start with a small initiative which can be finished in relatively short time (max. 2 months, preferably time boxed). Show the stakeholders the results (deliverables) of each PDCA step and, most importantly, show them the final results that have been achieved. To finish off, explicitly show the link between the results and the business objectives to remind your stakeholders why this is an improvement!

Keep in mind: it’s a learning journey. When you start the next cycle, step by step more people will understand the chosen method. When they are able to adapt and follow, you can then increase the number of improvement initiatives running at the same time. After a number of PDCA cycles, you can choose more challenging improvements. Just remember: focus on delivering results - break down major improvements into manageable tasks and deliverables.

Advantages of using the PDCA cycle:

  • It is a proven and easy to understand method. Best practices are widely available.
  • It can help  build a culture based on continuous improvement with a focus on success.
  • The step-by-step approach makes is easy to effectively implement improvements.

And last but not least: it demonstrates clearly that initiatives driven by ITAM get done! This builds trust among all stakeholders, which is especially important for improvement initiatives where cooperation with other teams is necessary.