Among the many universal challenges experienced by organizations during the Covid-19 pandemic, one stands out: how to address issues and solve problems when there’s no time to think, let alone follow a systematic process.
#Lean Community member Douglas Ashby, a lean practitioner and project specialist at a critical access hospital, says focusing on essentials works. His team created a successful approach that's working during the surge of Covid-19 patients. With the streamlined system, hospital personnel not only quickly identify and address specific issues, but they also build problem-solving muscle memory that will allow them to solve increasingly complex problems over the long term.
During daily huddles at the end of their shift, teams complete a quick Plus/Delta debrief, asking two simple questions: 1) what went well today? and 2) where did we fall short or have any issues? The inquiry feeds a brief gap analysis—What is the current performance level? and Where should it be?—which, in turn, leads to a quick 5-Why analysis. The approach concludes by identifying simple action plans that the next shift implements.
For the future, the responses feed into an easel A3 problem-solving framework. “Encouraging teams to do this every day during their huddles is uncovering lots of hidden waste and opportunities for improvement,” writes Ashby. “When the dust settles on this pandemic, it will be crucial to assess how our work systems held up. The artifacts from these daily debriefs are invaluable in this regard.”
Have you created or adapted an approach that is helping your organization solve problems more quickly? Are you looking for new solutions that work amid the chaos of a pandemic? Join the #LeanCommunity and share them. The community is working to collaboratively address the unique issues brought on by the pandemic and sharing stories of resilience and grit during a crisis.