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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Fundamental Skills Every Project Manager Must Master

Posted by Jake Sussman

Nov 18, 2019 1:25:13 PM

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a global nonprofit professional organization for project management. They wrote the book on project management. Literally. It's called the Project Management Book of Knowledge, and it has become the standard by which PMP (Project Management Professional) certification through PMI is obtained.

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Topics: Leadership, Improvement Culture, PPM

4 Big Improvement Ideas to Set the Stage for Success in 2020

Posted by Maggie Millard

Nov 7, 2019 9:13:47 AM

It seems like every year goes by faster than the last. I keep making plans to work on my summer tan, and suddenly, it's November. The holidays will be upon us before we know it and then – boom! We're in a brand-new decade.

Before things get too crazy, this is an excellent time to think about how you can set your team up for outstanding results in 2020. It won't surprise you to hear us say it, but making just some small adjustments in your leadership approach can have an enormous impact. Here are four improvement ideas to consider in the new year.

Take Strategic Planning to the Next Level

Most organizations go through some sort of strategic planning exercise for each new year, but few can execute the strategy successfully. That's because the strategy is planned but not fully deployed. It doesn't become part of daily conversations or activities. Perhaps the revenue targets are well understood and receive frequent attention, but what about everything else.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process

The Case for Investing in Improvement Technology in a Recession is Strong

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Oct 31, 2019 12:50:41 PM

Is the US heading into a recession? This question has been coming up more often over the last few months as economic indicators have economists, investors, and politicians concerned. In fact, the manufacturing sector is technically already in a recession, when defined as two quarters in a row of negative growth. Whether or not the larger economy will begin to slow, nobody can say for sure, but it’s not unreasonable to be concerned.

One of the things that companies do during a recession or when they think one is coming is cut costs. This makes sense because the only ways to protect profitability are to increase revenue or reduce expenses. Increasing revenue is more challenging during a recession, so cost-cutting seems like a sound idea.

Planned technology investments are often the first thing on the chopping block. After all, the easiest way to cut costs is to stop buying stuff. The rest of this post will be dedicated to laying out the financial reasons that improvement management technology should be the exception. In fact, the data is persuasive enough that it makes sense to invest in an improvement platform even if one was never in the budget.

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Topics: Software, Continuous Improvement Software

What is Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®)?

Posted by Jeff Roussel

Oct 30, 2019 2:05:33 PM

People have been managing projects in business for as long as there have been businesses. Project management is necessary for organizations of all types and sizes, whether it is formally recognized or not. But for complex organizations and those where the outcomes are high stakes, like healthcare, applying a standard for project management and professionalizing the role of project manager helps improve results.

Project management, as a practice, is now seen across the globe as a strategic competency, a career path, and a worthwhile investment for training and education.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is the Project Management Institute’s flagship publication. The guide lays out well-proven, consensus-based practices that are widely used. The publication, which was first released in 1996, is now in its 6th edition.

The PMBOK® Guide is developed by active project management practitioners and subject matter experts. The project management community reviews it before it is released to make sure it continuously reflects the current state of the profession.

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Beyond the Problem – Bonus Benefits of Kaizen Events

Posted by Noah Paratore

Oct 21, 2019 2:08:00 PM

Kaizen events, sometimes called rapid improvement events, are an effective way of solving difficult challenges within organizations. A team of stakeholders and subject matter experts takes a few days away from regular order to focus on improving a process. Because the effort is concentrated, root causes can be identified, and potential fixes implemented in short order. The obvious goal of a Kaizen event is to solve the issue at hand, usually defined in a project charter.

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Topics: Kaizen, Employee Engagement, Improvement Culture, Improvement Process, Improvement Methodology

Trick or Treat? The Scary Facts About Employee Engagement

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 17, 2019 10:35:00 AM

It’s almost time for Halloween when all the ghosts and monsters come out of hiding to give folks a scare. Fortunately, it’s all in fun. But there is something that should be truly frightening to business leaders, and that’s research about employee engagement and motivation.

Gallup has measured the state of the workplace for more than twenty years. Their research digs deep into the motivating and demotivating factors for employees and sheds light on what leaders can do to create the conditions for attraction, retention, and engagement.

There’s definitely some good news in the data, but let’s start with the scary stuff.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition

Should Lean Tools Be Used for Every Improvement?

Posted by Maggie Millard

Oct 14, 2019 10:11:31 AM


When I first saw this tweet from our resident Lean and Six Sigma expert and author, Mark Graban, I thought that he made an excellent point. Sometimes we get caught up in all of the sophisticated improvement tools at our disposal like value stream maps, Kaizen events, A3s, heck, even continuous improvement software that we fail to make or adequately recognize small improvements that don’t require tools.

But when I reread it, I was struck by the line, “This small improvement didn’t require a belt, root cause analysis, or a project champion.” Nope. Recognizing that the speakers were not in the ideal location and finding a way to solve that problem didn’t require any fancy techniques at all.

But what did it require? There are some prerequisites that are necessary to make even a simple improvement like this one possible.

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Topics: Lean, Improvement Culture

24 Business Process Improvement Examples to Prime the Pump

Posted by Matt Banna

Oct 3, 2019 11:10:14 AM

One of the biggest challenges we hear from organizations that are new to the world of structured business process improvement is that it is hard to articulate for employees what constitutes an opportunity for improvement. Usually, there are some low-hanging-fruit ideas that people jump on right away, but once those are cleared away, it can be difficult to spot flaws in processes, especially ones that you operate every day.

An excellent remedy for this problem is giving employees categories of improvement possibilities to consider. By providing a few examples, and some questions to ask, leaders can spark ideas and get people thinking innovatively.

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Topics: Daily Improvement, Improvement Process

High Reliability Culture – The Not-so-Secret Sauce

Posted by Matt Banna

Sep 27, 2019 8:32:00 AM

Before I spent a lot of time learning, thinking, and writing about how businesses operate and what separates those that successfully achieve their mission and those that don’t, I took a lot of things for granted. I never worried that my plane would crash, I wasn’t afraid that the power plant near my house would explode, nor was I concerned that the aircraft carrier my neighbor’s son calls home would come to harm. Sure, all of those adverse events do occur, but they are so rare that most of us just don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them.

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Topics: HRO, Improvement Culture

10 Leadership Behaviors that Promote Operational Excellence

Posted by Maggie Millard

Sep 25, 2019 10:42:50 AM

Operational excellence happens when an organization consistently and reliably outperforms the competition through constant improvement and a dedication to customer value. When two companies have the same strategy, the operationally excellent company will have higher revenues, lower cost, and less risk. This type of execution is only possible with a combination of outstanding leadership and a culture that supports problem-solving and transparency.

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Topics: Leadership, Operational Excellence

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