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Reporting for Duty / Duty of Reporting: The Case of the People vs. Processes (Entry 2 of 5)

    I had a hard time identifying a process to possibly eliminate. I eventually found one related to preparation I did for a report.

    I tried several different methods to find something. I started by just brainstorming and thinking about my various daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. I had a very long list of processes that I would LIKE to eliminate, but nothing that was a realistic candidate.

    I also tried creating a sort of questionnaire for myself. I listed the various tasks that might tend to slow people down or frustrate them. Even if it was a process that I personnally found helpful or necessary I added it to the list to investigate. Still nothing.

    What ended up helping more than anything, was a simple question, not a questionnaire, that I used throughout my day, everyday, for a couple of weeks. I asked myself, "is what I'm doing necessary?"

    I found myself working on some training attendance records and realized that what I was doing was no longer necessary. I had been cross-referencing some employee data, such as department and location, with training attendance records. The reason I had been doing this as a regular task is because at one time there was a significant concern about which departments were attending various types of training events and a report of this information was required fairly often; however, that concern had waned. I could always do the cross-referencing later if the question came up again, but there was no longer a need to have the report "ready to go" at a moment's notice.

    So that, as they say, was that.  I stopped doing the cross-referencing in preparation for a report that was very rarely asked for anymore. Nobody noticed. Well, almost nobody. The task didn't actually take very long, but I calculated the accumulated time and in a year I will have saved about 20 hours of time that I can use toward other tasks.I had no real need for a formal action plan to stop the process; however, there were some tangential issues that I will address in my next blog post.

    Along the way I found little tweaks to some processes that helped make them work a littel smoother, faster, or better. All because I asked, "is what I'm doing necessary?"

    See you next time when I explain the side issues related to the elimination of a process.


    - Nathan

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