In the Process Improvement Unit our role is to facilitate process improvement projects and deliver training. It is important that our project teams, and the wider departments have ownership of the changes and future improvement work in their area. Our remit is to question and support the teams to focus on improvements using a lean approach.
Recently, one of our projects has caused us to take a more active role in helping to deliver the improvements. The project coordinator was unexpectedly unavailable and the rest of the team were so busy balancing the day job and the improvement work that they didn't have resource to help with coordination activities.
We talked to the project sponsor and the team and agreed that PIU would assist with project coordination. This has allowed the improvement work to move forward and ensured that the project team receive regular updates. We're still involved with coordinating the work (which will not be fully implemented until mid 2015), so we don't know what the impact of our intervention will be. We are closely working with people to ensure that we continue to support rather than shape the improvements.
We were willing to take on this additional responsibility because there are a number of positive factors in place: a highly committed project team who are keen to make the changes; a project sponsor who is also very supportive of the changes and has been keen to be involved at a number of levels; also, we do not have the relevant skills to make the changes ourselves, so we can truly coordinate rather than make the changes. Our fear is that we'll help in the short term but stymie future improvements; people's ideas about how to avoid this would be appreciated.