Here are 5 factors to keep in mind when analyzing work.

  1. Focus on the process. In my experience, it is seldom the people. If you start with the work instructions and compare to the process, you will find the answer.
  2.  Most waste comes from working on the wrong things. Are the activities being done actually adding value?
  3.  Classify the activities as definitely adding value, necessary, unnecessary, idle. Do everything in your power to eliminate all that do not add value.
  4.  Question “why?” for every activity that is being performed. Legacy is seldom worth paying for. How would a new startup today do this?
  5. Communicate with everyone. Continuous improvement requires buy- in from the team, and their contributions may well out-value what an outside observer will develop.

Whether you use  work sampling, just observation, time study, spaghetti diagram, flow charts, or notes scribbled on work instructions doesn’t really matter. The five points given above are the key to getting a savvy analysis of the job at hand.