Is Process Triaging Worth Your Time? Participants Score it 8.6 out of 10 — Absolutely!

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most positive score, “Was the workshop worth your and your sponsor’s investment compared to other work in your queue?”

That is the first question we ask in the Participant Experience Survey that concludes each ProcessTriage® workshop.  Answers are anonymous and the questions pull no punches.

We ask this question after the team has worked shoulder to shoulder all day, mapping their process, then examining it for what’s preventing it from delivering a Process Capability Goal that, if achieved, will deliver their team’s share of an overall enterprise objective.  And after they nominated, ranked, and offered to help with typically two dozen improvement proposals.

The focused, full day workshop is hard work that precedes 90+ days of even more work to improve the process.

Reviewing over the last dozen or so workshops, 106 triagers scored  ‘Worth our time‘ an average 8.63 out of 10, with a minimum value of 6 and a maximum of 10. The median was 9.o! (the middle number of the sample).

Here are the results of two other questions, again a score of 10 is the most positive:

Did or will the ProcessTriage® Workshop improve team member collaboration?   Average score: 8.0, Min=6, Max=10, Median= 8.2

“Were you satisfied with your ProcessTriage® facilitator’s performance?? Average score: 9.0, Min=7, Max=10, Median=9.1

298-4 Sponsors observe deck ranking (2)

Interested?  Process Triaging on a Napkin (Here)


It’s Not Bragging If You Can Do It: HINT’s 1st Triage Had All Small Now’s!

For those of you unfamiliar with process triaging (primer here), we spend a full day with a team of experts who do the work of an enterprise’s critical business process and nominate improvements.  At HINT, a creative services and video production company in Kansas City, their drive shaft process is the Creative Services process.  While every production is uniquely creative, the repeatable process of doing it is an ideal triage candidate.

327-1 Hint Triage Team (1)

One of the primary deliverables of the triage is the deck of process capability improvement proposals, typically two dozen.  Each one of these proposals, if completed, will improve the process toward a capability goal that, in turn, enables the process to deliver its share of the firm’s strategic goals.  These proposals are sorted by their level of effort, estimated by the team into Small Now action item-size tasks — simple enough for one or two people to accomplish without a lot of complexity, or a Big Now project-size effort, one that requires a plan, a budget, some sponsorship perhaps.

The typical triage proposal deck has a mix of Small Now’s and Big Now’s.  The more Big Now’s, the larger the effort to achieve the capability goal — and we set the capability goals high.   Sponsors and hosts expect a few project-size proposals and set aside some funds before they triage.

HINT’s five-person triage team, sponsored by CEO Teri Rogers and hosted by Tony Welch, generated 17 Small Now’s that could all be worked within 90 days, taking nothing off their plates.   What that says is Teri and Tony are running a very tight ship that’s core process has no serious issues.  It means HINT is entirely scalable, in terms of its drive shaft process.  Their team’s first triage results looks like an extremely seasoned kaizen team.  In fact, most of the proposals focused on enforcing best practices, not figuring things out.  Simply outstanding.

You just don’t see this kind of excellence very often, first triage.

I’m impressed.  Hat Tip, HINT!





Reflecting on Seth Gogan’s ‘How To Go Faster’

Seth Godin pens one of my must read blogs.  Seth was recommended to be by Sean Stormes at 3rd Door, who was recommended to me by Chris Wood, of Paige Technologies and a Vistage member.

Seth’s May 16, 2015 post titled How to Go Faster lit me up, as he offered five thoughts about improving ones decision hygiene (a crisp clean neologism typical of Seth’s thinking).

I was delighted to observe how aligned the ProcessTriage® Decision Cycle sync’d with Seth’s thinking.  Read Seth’s post, then my remarks on team triaging.

SETH: 1. Make decisions faster. You rarely need more time. Mostly, you must merely choose to decide. The simple test: is more time needed to gather useful data, or is more time merely a way to postpone the decision?

ROSEY: If it’s ‘gather useful data’, and the question is about how to incrementally improve a core process that drives your customer experience and balance sheet, team triaging is an extremely fast way to not only gather data, but delegate the decisions on what to improve first and take the decision off your plate for the most part. It means building a business model that keeps these micro-tactical decisions off your plate but makes sure they’re on the right compass heading.  It’s not enough that YOU have a faster decision cycle, but that decisions that should be made by teams cycle faster.

SETH: 2. Make decisions in the right order. Do the decisions with the most expensive and time-consuming dependencies first. Don’t ask the boss to approve the photos once you’re in galleys, and don’t start driving until you’ve looked at the map.

ROSEY: Team triaging is all about taking on the most capability-improving proposals first, while maintaining awareness of the customer experience and balance sheet impacts.  And the process triage maps we craft in the morning spell out the earliest-finish order of what should be done first, then next.  (I knew I had to write a comparison blog post after I read Seth’s #2!)

SETH: 3. Only make decisions once, unless new data gives you a profitable reason to change your mind.

ROSEY: Nothing to add here. Check!

SETH: 4. Don’t ask everyone to help you decide. Ask the people who will either improve the decision or who have input that will make it more likely you won’t get vetoed later.

ROSEY: This is spot on correct. Every capability-improving proposal that’s generated by our triage team workshops has the buy-in of the process’s expert team and thereby removes any buy-in risks. And by the way we coach our hosts to select the triage team, they are by definition the ones who will improve the decisions on what process improvements to fix first.

SETH: 5. Triage decisions. Some decisions don’t matter. Some decisions are so unimportant that they are trumped by speed. And a few decisions are worth focusing on.

ROSEY: Amen. What we tell our team triage sponsors – usually C-Level business unit owners (P&L or real budget authority) is to not overly concern themselves with any of the triage team‘s two dozen or so process capability-improving proposals individually, but focus on the whole deck. Focus on getting the whole list completed, then refresh the list as soon as practical.

It made my day to see PT’s business model align with Seth’s kind of thinking.

Something From Almost Nothing (a Mother’s Day tribute)

Where do I begin, this Mother’s Day?

Duane & Betty Rosenberger - Sidney IA - 1951

The more I remember my mother, Betty Grimmer Rosenberger, of blessed memory, the more I admire her.  For those who did not know her, my older brother John’s eulogy (here) sums up the essentials.  The slide show preceding her funeral service is short and sweet.

Mother kept a journal most of her life, from about 8th grade well into her 70’s, with some seasons of her life well detailed and others seemingly skipped.  Her journal entries during my early childhood are a marvel.  While I was playing on the Pecos River, burying cantelope in the sandy river bank to cool it down and marking its spot with as stick so as to find it later, Mom was wondering how much credit the grocery store in town would allow before her meager school teacher paycheck arrived at the end of the month.  Or the short, sad entries of ‘D’ (Duane, my Dad) out late and home drunk again.’  (Dad turned his life completely around some years later, but that’s another post of another day.)

I thank my mother most for demonstrating tenaciousness in the perfection of ones talents. Before I left for boarding school at age 14, she returned to her first love, painting.  (Our family’s fortunes improved with Dad’s race horse breeding and training business hitting its stride.) She earned a fine arts degree at the University of Iowa as WWII concluded, then sought a teaching job as close to Ozona, Texas as she could.  She longed to return to her childhood community and her beloved grandmother, Dixie Davidson.  The closest she could get was a Pecos River oasis town of Ft. Sumner, New Mexico.  She was smitten by a quit-high-school-to-fly-a-P51-Mustang-in-the-Army-Air-Corps cowboy.  Dad introduced himself at Sprout’s Cafe (then on main street next to the bank) based on Bill Hitson’s bet he couldn’t get a date with such as nice school teacher type.  They almost eloped but Mom’s mother, a pre-Law graduate from the University of Texas essentially read the riot act to her.  Anyway, I found her one morning asleep at her work table with her hair matted to a church painting she was working on, with a couple of 100 watt lights glaring over her shoulders.  The ‘Churches of the Rio Pecos’ collection, fourty of them, are a legacy and treasure of New Mexico history, 39 of them hanging in Dos Palomas (two doves), the home John and I general contracted for her to display them.

The point of this remembrance is mother taught me now to make something from almost nothing, but hard work and trust in the talents and gifts one is blessed with.  Granted, Mom had a college education — a liberal arts education, when a college education mattered, but painting is a craft.  She did not hit her stride until thousands of hours of practice, as Malcolm Gladwell asserted in Outliers (Little, Brown & Company, 2008)

Mom is my reference point for growing ProcessTriage®  and finding Immersion Workshop Facilitators — men and women who can unconsciously lead a team of strangers through a crazy-focused team building moment.