Quality Progress - March 2018 - 41

Ineffective project leader

Well-formed improvement project teams
are typically multidisciplinary or cross
functional. This composition allows for
the project to capitalize on the knowledge and expertise of a wide range of
people within the organization. To solve
the problem at hand, however, a skilled project leader is
needed who can bring together this heterogeneous group
of people to create a cohesive project team.
It is imperative to the success of an improvement project
to appoint a team leader who possesses effective leadership, organization, facilitation and communication skills.
The reality is that project team leaders who lack these skills
make it difficult for team members to efficiently execute the
tasks involved in improvement projects.3
For example, teams working under the direction of an
ineffective leader may struggle with arranging meetings
with others in the organization. Without direct input from
those who do the work or who know the process best, it
may be extremely challenging for the team to fully understand the intricacies of the process being examined, identify
the root cause or causes of the problem at hand, and
develop and implement a solution or solutions that effectively address the root cause or causes.
To overcome such circumstances, the skill sets of project
leaders should be defined, and appropriate training should
be provided prior to the start of an improvement project.
Relative to creating an environment for effective teamwork,
this includes leadership skills to help teams develop common goals so that each team member is fully committed to
the team's goal and, therefore, each member's individual
goals are aligned with the team's goal.4
In addition, experiential learning opportunities can be
incorporated into training for project leaders in which they
co-lead a project with an experienced project leader before
leading an improvement project on their own, for example.
Finally, it is useful to provide ongoing mentoring, support
and guidance for new and experienced project leaders to
help ensure project success.

Changes in management

Many practitioners in the process
improvement field can likely tell you
stories about how their improvement
projects were derailed due to internal
personnel changes in management
roles within their organizations. But
why does this happen?

First, new managers may disagree with the previously approved project topic and scope. They may not
fully buy in to or be convinced of the need or value of
investigating the previously identified problem at the
current time. This situation may be understandable to
some degree, but it can be detrimental to the morale and
motivation of improvement project team members.
For example, if the project ends midstream, team
members may feel their previous efforts toward the
project were wasted. Additionally, the team may have
to lobby for the project and prove their case yet again
to convince the new manager of its value to obtain the
support needed to move the project forward.
To mitigate the impact of internal personnel changes
in management roles on improvement projects, when
possible, organizations must establish specific succession plans for handling management changes with
respect to improvement projects. For example, perhaps
the new manager can spend some time with the previous
manager and the current project team members to
understand priorities and current initiatives in the organization before moving into the new role.
Of course, virtual meetings and conference calls can
be useful to support these discussions when all parties involved are not in the same physical location. In
addition, the new manager can be provided access to the
documentation of the project to date to help him or her
further understand other background details regarding
the project.

Employee turnover

The availability of resources
in an organization during the
execution of an improvement
project can significantly affect
the progress of the project. Critical resources for improvement
projects include the employees
in an organization.
For example, if someone
integral to the project abruptly resigns from the organization, it may be challenging for the project team to
find others in the organization with the same knowledge,
expertise and abilities. In turn, team members may have
trouble completing their work according to the original
project schedule.
While employee turnover is a natural occurrence in
any organization and will never be fully controllable,
the goal is generally to minimize it. Efforts to do this

qualityprogress.com ❘ March 2018

QP 41


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - March 2018

Seen and Heard
Expert Answers
Progress Report
Mr. Pareto Head
Career Coach
My Quality Story
In the Right Direction
A Different Kind of BBQ
Gaining Ground
Impeding Progress
Innovation Imperative
Statistics Spotlight
Standard Issues
Marketplace
Footnotes
Back to Basics
Quality Progress - March 2018 - INTRO
Quality Progress - March 2018 - cover1
Quality Progress - March 2018 - cover2
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 1
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 2
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 3
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 4
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 5
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Seen and Heard
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 7
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Expert Answers
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 9
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Progress Report
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 11
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 12
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Mr. Pareto Head
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Career Coach
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 15
Quality Progress - March 2018 - My Quality Story
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 17
Quality Progress - March 2018 - In the Right Direction
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 19
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 20
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 21
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 22
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 23
Quality Progress - March 2018 - A Different Kind of BBQ
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 25
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 26
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 27
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 28
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 29
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 30
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 31
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Gaining Ground
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 33
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 34
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 35
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 36
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Impeding Progress
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 38
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 39
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 40
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 41
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 42
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 43
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Innovation Imperative
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 45
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 46
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 47
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Statistics Spotlight
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 49
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 50
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 51
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 52
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 53
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Standard Issues
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 55
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 56
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 57
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Marketplace
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 59
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Footnotes
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 61
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 62
Quality Progress - March 2018 - 63
Quality Progress - March 2018 - Back to Basics
Quality Progress - March 2018 - cover3
Quality Progress - March 2018 - cover4
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