We have surveyed our triage workshop participants — we call ’em Triagers, after each triage from our beginning. We summarize these anonymous remarks in our facilitator’s report to the Sponsor and Host. One of the questions is open-ended: “What did you like most about the workshop?”
Triagers frequently say they liked the deck of Small Now’s and Big Now’s — the action item-size and project-size improvement proposals, respectively, they nominated and prioritized. A typical workshop generates two dozen ‘Smalls ‘n Bigs‘ that more than fill a team’s process improvement queue for the next 90+ days (taking nothing off their plates). First timer’s are surprised how fast they created them.
Empowering at team to nominate this many improvement proposals, together as a team, within a very tight time box demands thorough simplicity. We do this with the Four Fastest Verbs:
Analyze [something], if you don’t understand the root cause well enough.
Design [something] if you understand what to fix.
Train [something] if the fix needs teaching and/or
Enforce [something] the fix. It’s lead, follow, or get-out-of-the-way time.
We refined our triage protocol to these four words (synonyms are sometimes allowed) because they occurred the most frequently. This after examining thousands of triage cards over several years. If the Small or Big Now is something IT must deliver, it’s reduced to Design and Implement.
What surprised me what how these fastest verbs have helped triagers after our workshops. I’ve had managers and supervisors tell me these four words help them get to the point when talking about what they want their bosses to support or what they want their subordinates to do.
I knew these four words were right when when one of my triage sponsors interrupted me mid-sentence — mid-pontification actually, and asked, ‘Rosey, what do you want us to do — Analyze, Design, Train or Enforce?”