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A Toolbook for Quality Improvement and Problem Solving (contents)

A Framework for Process Improvement: 2. Define

The Quality Toolbook > Applications for Tools > Framework for Process Improvement > 2. Define

Identify | Define | Problem | Cause | Solution | Implement | Review | Follow-up


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This is the overall process:



Fig. 1. The overall process


Once the project is selected, it must be given the best chance of success. This includes ensuring that the right people with the right skills are working on it, it is clear what 'success' means and the way forward to achieving this is clear.

Activities in this stage may include:

  • Identifying resources needed, such as team members, expertise, training and facilitation.
  • Gaining commitment from management to support project.
  • Recruiting and training the project team.
  • Gaining a basic understanding of the problem to be addressed.
  • Understanding the context and purpose of the process to be improved.
  • Putting short-term actions into place to cope with the situation until it is properly fixed.
  • Defining specific objectives for the project.
  • Identifying measures to determine how well the objectives are met.
  • Deciding what data to collect and how it will be collected.
  • Making initial plans for future stages.

In practice, the most difficult part of this stage can be in gaining the real commitment of resource, particularly where it requires people to be taken away from other high priority jobs. It can also be a difficult period where the real problem is as yet unknown (in which case, the decisions made here may be revisited during the next stage).

Tools that may be used in the Define stage are described on the Tools for the Define stage page in the Tool Finder.


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