To standardize your processes and make them efficient and lean, there must first be agreement on what the process really is. Draw a picture of your process as a team, working with all the people involved (there will likely be as many versions of the process as there are people).

You can use software to draw your flowcharts, but I highly recommend manual charting with Post-its first: 3 X 5’s for action steps and boundaries, 3 X 3’s turned for questions, and tiny ones for connectors. Or use Post-it precut flowchart symbols.

Set your boundaries on the process (beginning and ending steps), then starting at the top, ask “what’s next?” Put each step under the last, on a Post-it. Where you disagree, lay them all out side-by-side; come back when you have finished the entire process, and discuss which is preferable. Agree on one standard way to do the work. Once this is agreed-upon, you can begin to make improvements in the process.

Flow Chart Symbols sm

Tubing Change Process

See http://www.mkkey.com/keyzines/keyzine50.html for more on flowcharting. And http://www.lucidchart.com and http://www.lovelycharts.com for free flowcharting software.

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