How to Create a Process Improvement Plan in 7 Steps

What is a process improvement plan? 

A process improvement plan is a document that outlines the steps required to optimize process performance. Having a detailed plan is important for a successful process improvement project as it ensures that all team members are aware of the goals of the project, their responsibilities, and project timelines. Following the steps outlined below will enable you to fix inefficient business processes and increase employee engagement and customer satisfaction. 


How to create a process improvement plan 

Step 1 - Map the current process 

In order to improve a process, you need to have a clear understanding of how it works in its current form. Mapping each step in a process from end to end provides you with a clear view of the inputs and outputs throughout.  


Step 2 - Analyze the current process 

Once you have defined each step in the process, you can review each one to understand what is and what isn’t working. Process Simulation allows you to run different scenarios with the current situation and easily identify where problems are coming from. Consult with team members that are directly involved with the process to answer the following questions: 

  • What causes delays in the process? 
  • Are there any bottlenecks in the process? 
  • Where are more resources required? 
  • Where are costs an issue? 
  • Where are errors likely to occur? 
  • What could be automated? 


Step 3 - Redesign the process 

Now you know what the issues are, you can address them. Again, work with those that will use the process in their day-to-day work to determine what the process running optimally looks like and how each of the current issues can be eliminated. 


Step 4 – Test the process 

Prior to implementing your new process, it is good practice to test it to ensure that the changes have a positive impact. Process simulation allows you to test the process in a real-world scenario and demonstrate the return on investment of the improvements. This provides you with an opportunity to make further adjustments based on the results. You can also use “what-if” analysis to compare your “as is” process with the “to be” process in terms of execution time, resource utilization, and costs. The results from this will highlight the need for process improvement and the benefits it will bring to stakeholders.  

Start optimizing your business processes.

Step 5 - Communicate the change 

It’s not uncommon for people to fear change. Therefore it is imperative that you communicate the changes the project will bring to the way of working across the organization. Align departments, educate employees about how the new process will work and the benefits it will bring and get buy-in from senior management to increase the likelihood of adoption. 


Step 6 – Implement the new process 

Now you’ve designed the perfect process and communicated all the positive things the new process will bring to your organization it’s time to put it into action. The key to a successful implementation cycle  is to create a specific plan that includes regular demonstrations and feedback from those who use the process on a daily basis to assure your implementation is aligned with their expectations and can deliver real value to the business.  


Step 7 - Monitor results and optimize 

Once you have completed the rollout of the new process you should measure adoption among stakeholders and gather feedback from them on how well it is working. Ask them to report any issues that may have arisen and any further improvement opportunities they have spotted. You can also track the performance of the new process by benchmarking the results against the results delivered by the old process and any goals you set at the beginning of the project.  


Process improvement is not a one-off project. It is a continuous practice that every organization should adopt to create and maintain a competitive advantage. Efficient processes boost productivity and profitability by increasing employee satisfaction and delivering the best possible value to customers.  


Take the first step to improving your business processes.