Is There Life after Business Requirements? Part 2.
Make Ready – Do – Put Away
In taking a close look at each of our daily tasks, we find that there is more to each operation than bare performance to complete the job. It is preceded by some time-consuming preparatory activities and followed by cleaning up and putting away the tools and equipment used to do the job.
Idle time is a waste that should be eliminated wherever possible in any operation in order to increase productivity. Smoothness of operation, the changing of sequence to improve the motion pattern, and the elimination of unnecessary motions or delays are other important factors that contribute to increased productivity.
Any kind of work can be classified in three general phases.
- Make Ready
- Put Away
“Make ready” refers to all the preparatory activity required prior to performance of the productive “do the work” operation. “Do the work” is the production operation of the activity. “Put away” is the activity required after the production operations have been performed to complete the cycle of work. If the “do” operation cannot be eliminated, the “make ready” and “put away” phases offer the best possibilities for eliminating or simplifying those motions required. These phases should be subjected to close scrutiny and nothing should be taken for granted.
The following is an overly simple illustration of a “make ready-do-and put away” chart, which indicates the steps taken in signing one’s name when using a fountain pen. Although the items may look petty, they are there nevertheless to be counted: five steps in the “make ready” and three in the “put away”.
1. Search for pen
2. Remove from pocket
3. Take off cap
4. Replace on other end
5. Position for writing
6. Sign name
7. Remove cap
8. Replace on other end
9. Replace in pocket
How to Improve the Process
Now, if we wanted to improve the job, where should we look for improvement? Probably not in the signing operation. After all, the signer is an expert and has been practicing all his life. He probably can do this job better than anyone else. Hence, the place to look for improvement is in the “make ready” and the “put away.” These items can be eliminated, combined, or simplified without in any way affecting the quality of the job.
Following is an enumeration of the steps involved if we choose to reduce the “make ready” and “put away” by using a desk pen stand.
1. Remove from stand
2. Position for writing
3. Sign name
4. Replace in stand
By comparison, nine steps have been reduced to four. Normally, each operation is not broken down to the make ready-do-put away details, but it is an interesting and useful method to keep in mind.
The Open Mind
In order to be receptive to new ideas, we must have an open mind. It has been said that the mind is like a parachute, it works only when it is open.
The largest stumbling block to simplifying work does not lie in the technical aspects. Rather, it is in the minds of people doing the work who feel they are already using the best possible method. The minute you say a job cannot be improved, you are through – no matter how much you know and even if you are an expert. Someone knowing nothing about it, but whose thinking it can be improved, is now a better man for the job than you.
Charles F. Kettering, whose accomplishments with General Motors Corporation are legend, struck at the heart of the problem when he stated, “It seems to me that it is pretty much of a definite law that man is so constituted as to see what is wrong with a new thing, and not what is right.” The open mind, once obtained, is not a static thing. It must be continuously cultivated in every waking moment.
So much for the history and background of work simplification. It is now time to talk specifics. What are we going to do to get the objective approach to our jobs, and how are we going to analyze them? First, we should recognize the basic elements of each job.
1. The Open Mind
A willingness to listen and give a fair hearing to new ideas and suggestions will go a long way toward overcoming some of the obstacles. This does not for a moment imply that we should blindly accept all suggestions. But it does mean that we should try to see the merit in the idea as well as the flaws. And if there is real merit, we should try to work out the rough spots.
2. The Questioning Attitude
We should try to approach our analysis work with these questions: How can this be done better? Is this step or function truly necessary? Or, how can I simplify this procedure? These questions and their answers will help us overcome the obstacle of complacency.
When we try to make a methods change, it’s important that we reassure all persons involved that it won’t have an adverse effect on their job security or stature. It’s also quite necessary to make sure that the people involved fully understand the proposed change so that they will be able to adjust to it.
Perhaps the best way to overcome fear of criticisms is to have the person responsible for the present system and the person with the new suggestion working together as a team to develop and install the new method.
Participation is the keystone. It is the major factor that distinguishes the work simplification way from other means of accomplishing methods change. If participation is truly practiced, and the people doing the work are the ones responsible for changes, then most of the obstacles mentioned above can be overcome smoothly and successfully.
Remember, a good slogan to keep in mind as we attack these obstacles is:
“There’s always a better way.”
Dealing with Resistance to Change
One of the most baffling and stubbornly rebellious problems analysts face is resistance to change. Resistance may take a number of forms – persistent reduction in output, increase in the number of “quits,” strikes, and of course, the expression of a lot of pseudo logical reasons why the change will not work. Even the more petty forms of this resistance can be troublesome. Let’s face it, in order for an organization to progress to a successful position in the world, changes must continually occur. So why not deal with resistance to change – management does not have to and, in fact, cannot force changes down the throats of resistant people.
People do not resist change as such, and most of the resistance, which does occur, is unnecessary.
The key to the problem is to understand the true nature of resistance. Actually, what people resist is usually not technical change but social change – the change in their human relationships that generally accompanies technical change.
Resistance is usually created because of certain blind spots and attitudes that staff specialists have as a result of their preoccupation with the technical aspects of new ideas.
Analysts and their customers can take concrete steps to deal constructively with these attitudes. The steps including emphasizing new standards of performance for staff and encouraging them to think in different ways, as well as making use of the fact that signs of resistance can serve as practical warning signals in directing and timing technological changes.
Top executives can also make their efforts more effective at meetings of staff and operating groups where change is being discussed. They can do this by shifting their attention from the facts of schedules, technical details, work assignments, and so forth, to instead discuss what these items indicate about developing resistances and receptiveness to change.
The Work Simplification Formula
SWS = (PWS + TWS)HF
SWS represents successful work simplification
PWS represents philosophy and attitude of work simplification
TWS represents tools and techniques of work simplification
HF represents consideration of the human factor
This formula, which is not a mathematical formula, indicates the importance of the HF term. All terms in the formula are important; however, consideration of the human factor is by far the most important. Success with work simplification is impossible without adequate consideration
The Business Analyst’s Role
The business analyst today occupies a strategic position and is not limited to the traditional role, with well-defined activities of staff personnel, as in the past. As the specialist in the use and application of work simplification techniques, they will be more frequently brought into what was considered the exclusive territory of managers.
As the business analyst is working closely with the manager, their job expands from just using the techniques of work simplification. Now the job also involves instructing the supervisor in the use and application of techniques and obtaining the maximum involvement between themselves, the supervisor and the employees in developing, testing and installing improvements made.
The Basic Process
Before discussing the basic tools of work simplification, there is one more preliminary item to bring to the forefront. This technique will make certain that nothing is overlooked.
As you now know, a systematic, organized approach to any job or problem will find the best way more times than the haphazard approach of trial and error.
A technique of analysis based on this philosophy of work simplification is the 7-step pattern.
Step 1. Select the Job or Process to be Studied
Bottleneck – Work seems too time-consuming; too many steps; too expensive; unsafe; lot of overtime; fatiguing; holding-up service; stop waste; etc.
Step 2. Record from Direct Observation All Aspects of the Job Selected
Gather all the facts as they are (job classification, organizational relationships, etc.). Use all or some of the modeling and creativity tools of work simplification. There are various ones available. These may include flowcharts and models, graphics, prototypes, operations management and the like.
Step 3. Analyze the Recorded Facts
Critically looking from a constructive point of view
Step 4. Develop a Better Method
Again, directing yourself to each detail.
Can you Eliminate?
Step 5. Analyze the New Method
Give attention to one thing at a time – challenge for constructive improvements.
Why is job being done?
If you decide that the job is necessary, start questioning each detail.
What is being done? Why?
Get facts, not opinions!
Where is it being done? Why?
Could it be done better elsewhere?
When is it being done? Why at this time?
Could it be done better some other time?
Who is doing it? Why is that person doing it?
Does it tie in with the rest of his/her work.
Could someone else do it better?
How is the detail being done? Why is it being done this way?
What method is being used? Is there a better way?
Step 6. Test the New Method
Look for additional improvements. Do not overlook anything, no matter how trivial you may think it
Step 7. Install New Method
Everything we have done so far is fine, but if we don’t convert to action, what good is it?
- Document the new method
- List what it will do: cost savings, time, effort, safer area, etc.
- Sell it to those concerned
- Trial run
- Give credit to contributors
Consulting with the people involved is a real help in job improvement. No one can resist a new idea when it is partly their own.
Be sincere when you deal with people; read their reactions and feelings; recognize their importance.
Become familiar with this “Technique of Analysis.” By using this formal pattern, you will be able to approach and solve any problem.
Remember, participation is the keystone; if you do, you will be successful.
So you have a requirements plan. You have elicited functional, non-functional, and quality of service requirements. You have validated and verified them, and your stakeholders are satisfied. Now what? The requirements part of a business analysis project answers the questions “What do we have and what do we need?”
Don’t forget to leave your comments below
Dr. Victor Teplitzky, an independent consultant, has more than 34 years’ experience in training and development, project management, organizational development, and business analysis.Dr. Teplitzky studied industrial engineering and quantitative analysis, holds an MS in organizational development and a Ph.D. in theology, and is a board-registered naturopathic doctor. He is a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI®), the National Society of Professional Engineers, and the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). Dr. Teplitzky is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) by PMI and as a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®) by IIBA. He is also a contracting officer’s technical representative (COTR), an EAM-approved advanced environmental management system (EMS) auditor for quality and environment (ISO 14000), an ANSI-RAB accredited EMS auditor (ISO 14000), and a quality systems development and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) master.For more information about Global Knowledge or to register, visit www.globalknowledge.com or call 1-866-925-7765.