Step 1—identify and define the problem
Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe FCIPD of OnLive Learning
Step 1—identify and define the problem

The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Beth Pipe FCIPD of OnLive Learning provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Step 1—identify and define the problem
  • Identifying waste
  • Client department as a barometer of efficiency
  • Involving the team
  • Logistics
  • Creating a business case

There are five key steps to improving efficiency:

  1. identify (define) what process needs improving

  2. measure the problem

  3. analyse your information

  4. improve the process

  5. control, ie embed the new process so it becomes business as usual

Management consultants often refer to this is as the DMAIC framework.

This Practice Note guides through the first step. It explains two different methods that can be used to identify and define which processes needs improving, ie by:

  1. finding out where processes generate waste, as waste is an indicator of an inefficient process

  2. establishing whether the way of working delivers what clients want (within reason, ie within the range of what the team is willing to do for the clients)

It also describes some tactics that can be used to get staff on board at this early stage.

Identifying waste

A good way of finding out where problems or bottlenecks exist within a department is to analyse the amount of waste generated. If something does not contribute directly to the core purpose of the work, it is generating waste.

The table below shows different types of waste that commonly arise in legal teams.

Work through our Precedent: Identifying waste questionnaire to:

  1. establish where possible areas of waste exist within the current processes, and

  2. identify how to measure the cost to the department by simply calculating how much each individual incidence costs and multiplying that cost by

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