A good idea is the starting point of something big to come. As we work on the idea, there is a constant need to improvise. Factors, that were unknown to us at the start of a project, may spring up as we are in the actual process of trying to turn our ideas into reality. There can be mutants from our plan. There can be unexpected delays, shortages, expenditures, etc. Thus, it is very essential that there is some improvement based on needs.
Improvement based on needs: ‘based on needs’ is the important clause here. There is no use in assuming wrong theories, and improving based on those. A reality-check, now and then, has to be carried out, and your improvisations must be based on those.
In the book Employee’s Guide To Success- Improve With Lean, it talks about how ‘Lean Production’ can help employees improve, and how to look at the ‘Lean’ idea from the employee’s perspective. One of the most catchy aspects of this book is the way it describes the methodology to improve. Calling it the ‘Fundamental Improvement Method’, it talks about the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) method as a structure for all types of improvement work.
The ‘Plan’ phase is the slowest, longest and most important phase. If a proper plan exists, then the ‘Do’ phase becomes much easier, as it is just blind execution of what one has planned. The ‘Check’ phase is again slower as most of the learning from mistakes take place here, and the difficulties that arose during the ‘Do’ phase are attended to. Finally, after these three phases, one sees improvement because, at the end of ‘Check’ phase, the execution of the idea has been refined with the problems duly sorted. But, one must not stop here. The improvement must be recorded or documented for future reference, as this is the point from where you start improving further. This is taken care of in the ‘Act’ phase.
The word ‘phase’ should not mislead us to think that a separate time should be allocated for improving. The process of improvement is a continuous cycle. It goes on and on. Usually, ideas have sub-areas and sub-sub-areas. So, there are improvement cycles in each of them, and also between them. These tiny improvements in themselves may not be considered big. But these are the ones that ultimately lead to the progress of the idea, which is nothing but the overall improvement.
Trivial improvements are also not to be shunned. The smallest of details, that has the scope to become better, should be improved as it leads to a clearer, and more perfect, bigger picture. This is especially important while fighting with the niche.
Practice makes perfect. So, it is necessary to practice improving. One should not let the dusts of problems settle down on the globe of ideas. We may consider a problem to be a speck of dust, and assume it cannot blur the idea. But in no time, we would discover that such neglect has led to a sheet of dust forming, thus blocking the view to success. That is why, in the competitive world that it is today, where the difference between the best and the lesser ones vary just by a thousandth or lesser, improving based on needs is a salient key that helps one score over their rivals.
How do you plan, check and act? Feel free to share as comments