An outsourcing company in Bulgaria developing and maintaining software products with main customer ASML, the largest supplier in the world of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry. In 2013 the company had about 35 employees, software developers and integrators.
As a typical start-up company, the goal was to grow from inside by investing in internal improvement initiatives. But naturally the organization had limited management resources and in the given case the manager’s time was spent on growing and client management. No time for improvement.
The solution was to merge the improvement program with already existing initiatives, namely the weekly project review meeting.
- Same audience and responsibilities (management team and project leaders).
- No extra administration related to the improvement program. Just regular updates.
- Controlled investment by transforming each improvement initiative to a project.
- Tracking and decision making without extra effort.
The management experienced an overhead of meetings. They invested their time dealing with the problems on project level. Thus most of the managers were not motivated to contribute to the improvements by attending an extra weekly meeting or by managing the improvements.
They preferred to leave the improvement consultant manage all the improvements by himself. He had not the same authority and influence on the organization, so the changes was rarely accepted and applied in practice.
In the same time the rest of the employees were unaware on the improvement program. Only key employees were enlightened on the must have changes.
The review of the improvement initiatives was added as a topic in the weekly projects review. The weekly projects review meeting was extended from 35-40 min to 50-55 min by adding new value and eliminating the extra coordination effort for the improvement program.
The restructured weekly projects’ review meeting had the following agenda:
- Active projects status, issues and risks
- Leads review
- Improvement initiatives review
If the assignee was not a manager, the meeting facilitator took care to invite him to the meeting.
In addition a short report on improvement program was added to the monthly company meeting.
The management team was able to take on time decisions on which initiative is needed and which shall be stopped. When making decisions, all concerned parties were immediately informed.
The improvement assignee felt the importance and the added value of the initiative having a good audience to share its problems or achievements.
All employees were informed on the improvement path and had the opportunity to provide feedback or follow up on the activities interesting for them.