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One set of process steps to first learn "How did we get where we did not intend to be?" would involve the application of the "Fishbone Analysis."
Read, review, discuss, then apply the attached references regarding the six to nine steps in the proper application of the work of Kaoru Ishikawa.
p.s. A "Happy New Year" is only realized one day at a time.
Make the best use of "your today."
Hi Bill, this is a powerful technique and thanks for bringing its originator, Kaoru Ishikawa, to our attention. Your post reminds me of an investigation process I applied in my working career based on causal analysis / reasoning. Like the fishbone technique we started with a top level event – in this case an outcome was not achieved or incident that occurred. By repetitively asking what had to be true (or why) and constraining the investigation to facts (best) or what was thought to been believed (acceptable) we established a deep understanding of the problem and its underlying causality. The intent was not to cast blame but to identify areas for business improvement or to prevent the incident from reoccurring. This approach has many conceptual similarities to the fishbone (e.g., peeling back the onion) and has the added advantage of establishing direct relationships. Another dimension to your point on Experiential Past Feedback, is commitment to action and change. Doing an investigation without the intent to take this step renders the investigation meaningless and risks demoralizing staff.Regards,Mitch
I thought it might be interesting to share an experience I had some years ago.
CAVEAT: This happened in California at least 27 years ago, with a group of mainly 120 or so civil engineers. I worked closely with another expert to facilitate this crowd of golfers!
So, the pressure was on "to get it done!"
1st, we had to get everyone to agree on one unacceptable outcome of a project. Amazingly, they respected the process rule "No cross talk." They sat at roundtables, 8 to 10 per table.
2nd, Then they were directed to forget whatever process or steps were involved and to just start listing individual causes/reasons, based on their real-world project experiences for the unacceptable project outcome
3rd, Participants wrote their causes/reasons individually on yellow post-its, NLT 3 words, no more than 5, in caps. Each table's post-its were viewed for clarity and spelling at their table by the group.
4th, Prior to the participants going to the wall, the 6 to 7 major process categories labels were placed on the top of the wall, about 15 to 20 feet apart.
5th, The only initial post-it on the wall requirement was to do so orderly, IN SILENCE, vertically under whichever of the 6 to 7 categories they choose.
6th, Once done, they were asked to leave the room.
 So now you know why they were so very cooperative!
 This requirement turned out to be the most challenging for a group of civils at a resort!Stay Healthy!Cheers,Bill
Hi Bill, Your example - assuming i read and interpreted correctly - highlights that the value in these tools requires the commitment of the participants and doggedness of the facilitators to drive the desired end in mind. And we can't forget the role of leadership who requested the activity. Those in leadership roles can either enable through their active participation and setting of expectations including follow up or disable through their passiveness.
Task Roadmap to Success, Each Time, Every Time!
Now that the 6 to 8 categories, each with possible causes, are identified for the unacceptable outcome,
we now ask "So, we have some 40 to 50 possible causes identified for the process
that did not produce the desired outcome. What's next?"
If you consider each and all of the identified potential causes as connected . . .somehow . . .in a process, and
intended to produce the acceptable outcome each time, every time let's develop a process diagram.
This visual tool will guide individuals and groups to confidently develop their portion of the work before and during
the trip to the planned final outcome. . . .first time, every time!
The flowchart that follows at the end of these pages is one example.
It identifies the steps/activities required as to their relative performance timing in relation to the other activities.
Horizontally it delineates time to perform and deliver, vertically it identifies the client and the process owners that are to
coordinate their work with others as an f(t).
Before I share more on the "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" involved to actually get the owners of the steps/activities to develop such a process map,
Your participation, should you choose to accept it, is to review the flow chart/process map attached, and then list those features that:
2. Are clearly missing to assure the process is effective and efficient from "Day One!"