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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Efficiency and Effectiveness

What makes a good process?

Most measures boil down to two E’s: Efficiency and Effectiveness.
  1. Efficiency is about saving time, costs and otherwise removing waste. This is a traditional focus for quality professionals, and its history can be traced back to the days of Work Study, stopwatches and clipboards. (Efficiency is about doing things right.)
  2. Effectiveness means delivering what is wanted, effectively meeting stated and implied needs. In the traditional definition of quality, it is 'conformance to requirements'. (Effectiveness is about doing the right things)

By taking a stakeholder view of the organization, we can find the deeper purpose of what we are aiming to achieve with our processes, and find the third E.

3. Enjoyable. In our hurry to reengineer for business excellence, we often forget this third E, creating processes which are Effective and Efficient, but not very Enjoyable. (Enjoyable is doing the right things right - time after time.)

BOTTOMLINE: The challenge is to find the balance where Efficiency gains remove the boring parts, giving people a more interesting challenge (a real purpose), where Effectiveness leads to satisfied customers which feeds back to employee satisfaction, and where Enjoyable processes lead to happy people who work sincerely towards improving the other two Es.

(Thanks to David Straker at Quality Tools for this one.)

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