Step 3 – Organise
This post concentrates on the third step – how to Organise your response to issues and their management – dealing with rapid response, planning for failure, scaling resources, process improvements, automate and prioritisation.
This is the third of six posts that outline 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.
The expectation of an immediate fix to an issue can be tempting, but many factors can affect the actual outcome. Setting and planning to beat response times by location, asset or even issue type will set the conditions for success. Communicating expected response times can also serve to moderate expectations and reduce potential ‘fume’.
It is very tempting in a landscape of planned maintenance, for example, to imagine failures can be eradicated altogether but experience shows that this is not always the case. Whilst planned preventative and predictive maintenance can significantly reduce the incidence of failure – the significance of unexpected failure can grow disproportionately. Planning and even rehearsal of response can significantly reduce the impact of the inevitable unexpected failure.
Allocating and managing resources to have the biggest impact on your business is a foundation of management. Understanding where to prioritise resources in response to issues is never straightforward but scaling your resources correctly can have a major impact. Using historical information to help scale correctly is important as is a simple model to help forecast issue and closing rates. It can also be useful in forecasting when key resources are about to be overstretched.
The need for continuous improvement should be self-evident but it starts with the basic need for a process – a written and recorded procedure for raising, managing and resolving issues. Following a process means evidence can be collected and used to help identify and demonstrate improvements and underwrite an always improving culture.
Modern mobile technology can help automate parts of issue resolution, for example in the allocation of issues to resources or in the process of raising an issue. Automation does not ensure an issue is resolved but it can help provide a consistent approach – which is vital to improving overall speed of response.
Prioritisation of issue response can be a delicate subject but is a fact of life. It is vital where health & safety is involved and recognising which issues require prioritisation is a key aspect of the resolution process. Setting a priority without ensuring correct routing to the resource responsible for resolution is a potential waste – a priority only has a meaning if the correct resources can be mobilised and respond.
Step 4 in this guide will cover how to Implement your solutions, exploring usability, visibility and accuracy of key information and the ‘pilot and refine’ process.
We have prepared a simple primer from this article with a series of questions to aid your understanding:
One Issue 6 steps – Step 3 Organise Questionnaire
An overview of the 6 steps has previously been published here .
You may also find these external links useful in exploring these topics further:
Resilience through rapid response (CGMA article)
Six phases of process improvement (University of New Hampshire)
How to prioritise projects – the principles can also be applied to issues! (Harvard Business Review)