“Carrying out” problem solving solutions – RACI, KPIs

Hello everyone. Last time, I wrote about “brainstorming” which is the standard for generating ideas in “to-be” phase, and especially about generating ideas for new businesses, products and services.

From this time, “to-be (future state design)” will also go into the final stage. In terms of Lean Six Sigma, it is around the last part of DMAIC, “Control”.

Current position in the flow of problem solving
Fig1. Current position in the flow of problem solving

1. What is Control?

I think that various problem solving solutions have been defined by “Improve”, the previous phase, while making full use of facilitation techniques and brainstorming. “Control” is the phase of actually implementing those problem solving solutions.

Since it is the very last part of Lean Six Sigma, it is the part that tends to be written only a little at the end of materials, and even in trainings, it is the part that tends to be swept away due to time over (laughs). But I think this is the most important part of problem solving.

“Control” is the phase after workshops to manage the progress while actually implementing problem solving solutions. In my previous post, I wrote that “problem solvers must change their roles multiple times”, so from now on, you have to become a “project manager” (laughs).

In order to proceed with “Control”, it is necessary to decide about 2 things. Those are “RACI” and “KPIs”. I would like to write them in order.

2. First, divide roles to execute problem solving solutions – RACI

Another abbreviation which is difficult to understand (laughs), but this is the abbreviation of the following initials;





In short, this is to define “role allocation table” to execute problem solving solutions. Here is an image of RACI. It’s quite a simple table.

RACI (Image)
Fig2. RACI (Image)

“Responsible” is the person who is responsible for the execution. I think that there are many cases where members at Gemba level are assigned.

”Accountable“ is the person who is accountable for the solution and its results. I think that there are many cases where people such as the department head or manager of the department concerned would be assigned.

“Consulted“ is “Consultant” (laugh). The person to be consulted while execution of the solutions. This is the person to consult when you need some specialized knowledge to implement the problem solution (ex. legal department if you need legal checks, etc).

Lastly, “Informed” is the person to be informed the progress and results. If it is a large project, there is a “steering committee”, etc, and you have to report there, but in those cases, the steering committee would be “I”, right?

Here are some points to note when creating RACI.

a) “Responsible” and “Accountable” are mandatory for each problem solution. Should always be clarified.

b) “Consulted” and “Informed” are optional. Set as required.

c) Be sure to have only one “Accountable”. Because it’s not good to distribute responsibility. Other roles can be multiple.

d) In the table, there is a discussion in may cases as to whether to write as job titles (ex. XX department, etc) or individual names, but I think either is fine as long as it is clear within the project. However, if you write as individual names, be sure to update it (when the assignments were changed)!

And, don’t leave RACI as it is once you made, put it up in your project room or somewhere you can see it (if it’s online, share it)!

3. Were the problem solving solutions successful? – Setting KPIs

Again, another abbreviation (laughs), but everyone is familiar with “KPI”, right? Yes, “Key Performance Indicator”. I’m not going to go into detail here as you know it well, but KPIs can be set at various levels.

In this “Control” phase, KPIs are set for each problem solution. For example, if the solution to the problem is “strengthening customer follow-up by sales for the target segment”, the KPI may be “the number of customer visits to the target segment”, etc. In this way, KPIs are determined for each problem solution.

Here are some points to keep in mind when setting KPIs.

a) Set as “SMART”. This is also famous, isn’t it? Yes, this is the abbreviation of “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Achievable”, “Relevant” and “Timebound”. “Relevant” might be a little confusing. For example, I think that placing “company sales” as a KPI for a project would be less relevant. Of course, those should be related, though.

b) Make KPIs easy to obtain those data. You will have to look at the numbers regularly to see how much progress has been made, so it will not be useful if it is impossible/difficult to get the data.

c) Set Metrics (target value). KPI is an “indicator”, but be sure to set not only items but also target values (numerical targets).

After this, we will go into progress management based on action plans created in workshops. I would like to write about it next time onward.

That’s all for this time, and I would like to continue from the next time onwards. Thank you for reading until the end.

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