I once had a colleague who prepared dozens of monthly reports. She confided in me that she’d started eliminating reports that she suspected were not being used. Most disappearances went unnoticed and the time she spent preparing monthly data decreased significantly.
Some organizations talk a lot about process improvement without considering process elimination. From time to time we should take a look at work that may have outlived its usefulness. Great candidates for elimination include bureaucratic artifacts, PowerPoint slides, and status review meetings that do not generate action. Short on ideas? Have a challenge on your team to determine what one wasteful thing each team member can eliminate. I’m not advocating my former colleague’s experiment (only because it might get you in trouble) but rather, a hard look at what is adding value and what might be retired. Sometimes it’s hard to part with systems and structures that have been developed over periods of time, but process elimination saves time and drives focus on more important work.
What might you or your team be able to stop doing? What low risk experiments can you conduct with process elimination?