Monitor – Step 6 to Getting on Top of Your Issues

Step 6 – Monitor

This post concentrates on how to implement monitoring and reporting in your response to issues and their management – covering the requirements for what may be important, looking for re-occurrence of old issues, reporting internally and externally – without undue effort, undertaking analysis with a focus on continuous improvement and porting your reports to other systems.

This is the sixth and final post of the series that outlines in more detail our guide to getting on top of your issues, born out of our experience, frustration and success in managing issues in complex environments.

Today’s news

What is important today may not be important tomorrow or for next week, so always make sure you are monitoring what is important today alongside what is important for tomorrow and in the longer term.  It is too easy to be distracted away from longer term progress by short term priorities, making space for today’s news means it can be accommodated within longer term progress.

Open and closed

Open issues will always be the priority but keeping closed issues from re-appearing is where longer term progress can be made. Monitoring open issues for re-occurrence of older, closed issues can provide additional insight and indicate where root causes have not been completed addressed.

Reporting without effort

There is no value in reporting where it takes significant effort away from closing issues and longer term progress.  Reporting should always be configured for minimal effort and any time spent is taken in gaining additional insight. Reporting can be configured to be just a button press away.

Analysis and continuous improvement

A focus of analysis, reports and KPI’s should always be to identify areas for improvement – where performance is under par, of course, but also opportunities to gain advantage even where performance is satisfactory or better.  A continuous improvement approach looks for potential gains everywhere – even if they are marginal as the sum or aggregation of these will be significant.

Internal vs external

Reporting for management outside the system should not be taken as a substitute for reporting of KPI’s within. Internal metrics underpinning all external published information should only be a small sub-set of those monitored and analysed.  You are always looking for the deeper story behind the news – the ‘why behind the what’.

Integrating is easy

With modern technology data collection techniques, publishing external metrics and reports can be made automatic and universal – using the same system and formats used throughout your business. Avoid the temptation to create special reporting tools or software – this can lead to additional collation work and legacy data issues in the future.

Further Reading

We have prepared a simple primer from this article with a series of questions to aid your understanding:

One Issue 6 steps – Step 6 Monitor Questionnaire

An overview of the 6 steps has previously been published here .

The steps are 1 Awareness, 2 Categorise, 3 Organise, 4 Implement, 5 Feedback and 6 Monitor.

You may also find these external links useful in exploring these topics further:

The difference between urgent and important (Eisenhower principle)- Business Insider article

Perfect process analysis for continuous improvement – ASQ (1993)

Using business information systems – Harvard Business Review