Grassroots Teams Help Sun Micorsystems
Raise Customer Satisfaction
Coming Full Circle
Measuring and Improving Organizational
Externalization, Change Management Key
Just Do It!
A Step by Step Overview ofa 1950's
Organizational Tool Experiencing a 1990's
Hope Is Where You Find It
by Peter Block
Sorry We're Closed: Diary of a
Business News Briefs
Views for a Change
The Quality Tool I Never
Letters to the Editor
Calendar of Events
I Never Use
Human Resource Consultants
East Greenwich, R.I.
Pete Fornal is president of Human
Resource Consultants, which he founded in 1990. His
clients include Motorola, CVS Stores, State of Rhode
Island and Aetna Insurance. Fornal is a past president of
the AQP Rhode Island chapter, vice chair of the National
Employee and Labor Relations committee of SHRM and chair
of the Rhode Island Worksite Wellness and Safety Council.
He is a frequent workshop leader and speaker for AQP,
SHRM, ASQ and various educational
What is the tool that didn’t
work for you?
Process mapping or flow diagramming is an important tool
in most continuous-improvement initiatives. It is the
interactive process in which team members diagnose a work
process to determine gaps, inefficiencies and potential
Process mapping is a wonderful tool that not only enables
the participants to “see” the true picture of
a work process, but also offers excellent by-products in
bonding and teaming.
Why didn’t it
In my experiences, where process mapping didn’t
reach its full potential there were a few problems.
Having the right number of participants, ideally 10-15,
is key to the success of process mapping.
Asking team members, who are not experts in their phase
of the work process, to participate caused delays in
finding out what was going on and discovering the best
solution to the problem at hand. We didn’t have
sufficient training and by jumping in we weren’t
prepared for the task. Also, the work system/process we
were mapping was too large and it overwhelmed the
What words of counsel would you
give to someone else before they used the
As Tim Allen would say, “If you don’t use
them properly, tools can bite you.” This same
principle can be applied to the variety of quality tools
available to us. Whether it is process mapping, case
studies, team exercises, fishbone diagrams or an affinity
diagram, they can be highly useful or ineffective. My
experience has taught me to follow these guidelines when
applying quality team tools.
1. Know your toolbox and select the right tool to do the
2. Train your users to use the tool properly.
3. Be very clear in oral and written communications
regarding what you want the users to do with the
4. Set clear metrics for measuring your success.
5. Be sure you clearly define time limits that are
reasonable and practical for the users.