Now that I’ve eliminated the data issues (I’ll focus on database support after my run at Helpdesk/Desktop), further analysis of the incidents allowed me to narrow it down to my real top 10 categories. From these, I’ll select the top five to dig into. These are mine and not necessarily what my customers think are the most important. That could be a problem. Let’s solve that.
In my previous post I mentioned you could (and really should) verify that your customers agree with your choices of critical processes. Ultimately, your customer is the authority on what processes you should improve. You can use the attached Customer Needs Form to record their input. You can steer them towards helping you isolate critical processes by having them select from your five (prefill the Customer Needs Form) or you can have them pick their own.
Key things to remember about the form:
1. You can only have five needs. We can only analyze so many processes at once.
2. You can only have one importance. That is only one importance of 1, one importance of 2, etc. Everything can’t be number 1.
3. Customer needs should be recorded in person to eliminate ambiguity and non-IT processes. For example, the yogurt machine has cruddy flavors (did I mention we have a frozen yogurt machine at work?). Not an IT process. You could set up a SharePoint survey, but be prepared for follow ups.
4. Performance choices can repeat. You can have more than one 3, 4, etc.
Perfect is the enemy of good. Keep that in mind when doing this. Your goal is process improvement. Who cares if number 1 or 2 aren’t correctly identified, since you’ll eventually analyze them both anyway. Also, if your customer thinks your performing at the highest level (5) on their most important process, you wouldn’t want to change that process. Focus on the next most critical process that is underperforming.
Once you’ve collected a good enough sampling from your customers, use the results to isolate the most important processes and then start flowcharting (next post).