Billion Dollar Apps

Shadowing for Process Improvement

September 4, 2014

  • Alex Bratton

We’ve been talking about finding the processes that your mobile initiatives will improve. Here’s an excerpt from Billion Dollar Apps that will give you practical steps to getting close to the process.

Strategies That Help Change Agents Get Closer to the Process

As  a change agent, it’s your responsibility to step into your worker’s shoes: to fully understand the process, you must get close to it. As I noted, this’ll require some careful investigation.

Here’s the first of a few strategies. Used together, they offer you the visibility you need to isolate workflows for analysis and revision later on.

Shadowing for Process Improvement

Shadowing is following a worker’s daily routine. It may be as simple as following someone through the office. It also takes the form of a ride-along—a trip with field specialists, sales reps, installers, or other mobile workers moving from place to place throughout their workdays.

With shadowing, you can see firsthand what a worker accomplishes (and in some cases, what he or she doesn’t accomplish). You can watch workers interact with the tools that either help them get there or stand in their way.

The worker’s perspective is essential down the line. Take extensive notes on the workflows that make up the day. Try to understand the pain points the worker has. Take stock of everything. You can organize it more effectively later. Workers may not even realize some of the inefficiencies you’ll see. When you ask about them, you may hear the dreaded “It’s the way we’ve always done it”—a great indication that something can be improved.

This is an excerpt from Billion Dollar Apps. Download the first chapter here, or purchase the book in iBookKindle, & paperback.

Next time: Becoming an investigator to understand the process.