Earlier this week a colleague and I were grumbling about all of the jargon and acronyms around Lean and CI, and a general lack of plain English. “So what’s CI then?” asked another member of our group. Cue two red faces. Here were our attempts at explaining what Continuous Improvement is about:
“It’s about following the improvement cycle – Plan, Do, Check, Act. First, Plan what it is that you want to improve and why. Second, have a go – Do it! Thirdly, step back and Check how it went. Fourth, decide what worked and what didn’t, and take further Action as required. Finally, keep on going through the cycle until you get the results you want.”
“Make sure the team understands exactly what they want to improve and why. What will success look like, how will they measure it, and how will they go about it? Then put the plan into action – try it; experiment! Review what happened. If you like the results, keep at it – “lock in” the new “Best Way” through training, standard procedures, etc. If you didn’t get the outcome you planned for, what have you learned and what will you do differently next time? Make some changes, and plan your next approach. Keep at it until you get the results you want.”
So – how would you explain “CI” in plain English?