Inefficient business processes present some of the biggest obstacles to generating real productivity gains in an organization. The following “common wastes” are just some of the subtle ways in which organizations can unintentionally waste valuable staff time, materials and operational budgets:
This is where the organization’s resources (staff, materials, etc.) are moved from activity to activity without adding value to the business process. This includes mental movement where staff members cannot focus on their work because they are constantly moving from task to task. It also includes unnecessary movement due to a lack of effective communication channels in the organization (e.g. recreating an existing procedures manual).
This is where staff cannot progress their work due to the unavailability of required resources, materials, management decisions or management approvals.
This includes over-inspection, reworking and other added tasks that an organization puts in place to compensate for a lack of effective quality control in the overall process.
This is when the organization’s resources are wasted addressing problems in their products, services and business processes, instead of focusing on core business activities. Note that this also includes “damage control” to protect the reputation of the organization when these defects are visible to external audiences.
These are just some of the business process inefficiencies that Agile approaches are specifically designed to address. For further detail on minimizing these common wastes and others (e.g., Under-Utilized People, Over Preparation), see the productivity resources section.
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