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Process Tracing Checklist


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Process Tracing Checklist This Process Tracing Checklist is created to support process managers who have detected some problems in performance level of their supervised processes, and therefore need to drill down to find underlying causes of the problem. With a help of this checklist you will know how to formulate a problem, how to consider its roots, and then how to trace it down to resolve. 

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 Formulate a problem to be traced down to its roots:

  • Detect a sign(s) or symptom(s) of a process performance defect: for example a spoilage rate which is beyond the expected norm, or a specific tendency in a spoilage variance (the process tends to produce a spoilage of certain type, so the norm on this type is obviously exceeded);
  • Identify and parameterize a problem which points an inefficiency in the process performance:
    • Collect as much as possible of the facts on symptoms which may route you to defects;
    • Characterize each one of the symptoms and classify them to see how they are co-related;
    • Associate particular symptoms with an abstract problem or a couple of problems which you are going to investigate and solve – formulate it (them) as a sole (particular) entity (entities);
    • Is the problem measurable in terms of quality, quantity, etc?
    • Give all possible characteristics to the problem’s elements;
    • Recall conditions in which the problem occurs or has been detected;
    • Identify where you have gaps and uncertainty to trace routs of the problem(s) for sure;

 Consider potential routs of the problem (with a help of the following methods):

  • Surveys: ask the process participants for their opinions. Learn how the immediate executors of the process explain the problems you have detected and formulated, and offer them to propose a solution;
  • Technical expertise: usually a qualified professional can easily trace down to causes of a problem if he or she is supplied with a necessary scope of information. Discuss a problem with technicians and administrators, and provide them with all necessary information they may request from you;
  • Mind-maps: use to build mind maps as a way to control your train of thought. Try to set the problems and their details first, then trace down to possible reasons lying in different areas of the process. Develop ramifications from every nod, going down to probable causes, and assess probability of each cause you assume;
  • Brainstorming: assemble and facilitate a group of experts who will add, discuss and screen out their ideas and suggestions on possible causes of the problem(s);
  • Recall analogy, or resort to history: check for some similar solutions previously applied in analogical situations, or learn from something done in the past against the same problems;

 Trace a problem down to its routs and resolve:

  • Since you have a list of possible causes of the detected and described problem(s) you need to:
    • Go from point to point on your list considering and testing out these assumptions on-site;
    • If one of the assumed reasons of the problem gets approved, then resolve it as necessary, but go further to check all other potential causes as well;
    • Identity if the final process outcome is rectified (if the problem has gone after your efforts);
  • Alternatively, you may take a map of the process (its flow-chart and specifications of process elements) and just move through all included steps to:
    • Take measures closer as possible to probable sources, trying to indicate where the work goes wrong initially;
    • Pinpoint every step where you think something...

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