Business Process Improvement Methodology Toolkit

RAPID Process Improvement Methodology

The RAPID Process Improvement Methodology was developed by the Business Process Improvement Shared Service as a customized way to assess business processes and make recommendations for improvement.

RAPID was developed through extensive research of methodologies employed by peer institutions (e.g., University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Notre Dame, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and other higher education institutions participating in the Network for Change and Continuous Innovation), practical experience coordinating process improvement projects for units throughout the University of Illinois, and training in both Lean Six Sigma and Kaizen methodologies from BMGI.

It is used to manage business process improvement projects and ideally suited for Kaizen events. Kaizen events are intended to be fast-paced, incremental improvement efforts that often include implementation of improvements during the event. Kaizen events and RAPID are not sufficient for projects requiring complete process re-engineering or significant data analysis. They are useful in improving service-based business processes and if structured properly, can do so in a very efficient manner.

The checklist below describes each phase of this methodology so that project facilitators may have a guide for managing their projects.

Other process improvement resources may be useful for learning more about this subject. Recommended titles include:

RAPID Process Improvement Methodology Phases

Review the Problem Assess the Current State Plan for Change Implement Changes Determine Success

Review the Problem

The purpose of the Review phase of the RAPID methodology is to ensure that the problem to be solved is well-defined and understood, to ensure that there is sufficient management support for the project, and to define the structure for managing the project going forward.

Methodology Tool Description Resources
Communication Plan The Communication Plan is established early in the project to determine whom to communicate with as well as when and how to communicate with them. How-To Guide
Sample
Template
Project Charter The Charter identifies the scope, objectives, timeline, and stakeholders for the project. It is completed at the beginning of any project. How-To Guide
Template
Project Definition Worksheet   coming soon
Kickoff Meeting Agenda The kickoff meeting exists for the team to review the approved charter, for the facilitator to provide an overview for how the project will be run, and to ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them. Sample
Template
Project Plan This is completed at the beginning of any project and reviewed at the start of each new phase of the methodology being used. coming soon
Project Planning Meeting Agenda This agenda outlines the initial project planning meeting with the project sponsor(s) to plan the project's kickoff meeting with the project team. Sample
Template
Project Proposal The Project Proposal clarifies the problem that needs to be addressed, quantifies the impact of the problem on the organization, and identifies individuals, roles, and units that should ideally participate in any project to address the problem. It helps to organize the reasoning behind the project idea and can serve as a communication tool when evaluating and prioritizing projects and associated resources. How-To Guide
Template
SIPOC Map SIPOC stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customers. The SIPOC diagram is useful to provide a high-level overview of a process. How-To Guide
Sample
Template
Stakeholder Analysis This is an optional tool that helps to identify individuals or groups who affect or are affected by the project. It can assist the facilitator to better understand the goals and motivations of the stakeholders. coming soon

Assess the Current State

The purpose of the Assess phase of the RAPID methodology is to define the current process – not just how it is documented, but how it is actually executed. Also, the project team will identify any issues or problems that exist with the process and initiate the brainstorming of solutions for these issues.

Methodology Tool Description Resources
5 Why's The 5 Whys exercise guides team members in discovering root causes of a problem. How-To Guide
Template
Affinity Diagram The Affinity Diagram helps the team to group facts, opinions, and other relevant points into related categories to uncover themes or to clarify a complex scenario. How-To Guide
Template
Brainstorming Techniques   coming soon
Cause and Effect Diagram (Fishbone Diagram) The Cause and Effect Diagram helps the project team identify potential causes for a specific problem. How-To Guide
Sample
Template (Excel)
Template (Word)
Chart Selection Decision Tree   coming soon
Data Collection Plan A data collection plan helps to ensure that data gathered during an analysis or improvement project is useful and appropriately collected. How-To Guide
Sample
Template
Issue/Solution Matrix This helps organize your brainstormed solutions to ensure that they map to issues that the team discovered. Template
Pareto Chart This chart can be used to highlight the issues that are most frequent or most responsible for service defects. It will help the team focus the scope of a project or improvement area to the area of greatest impact, or to determine the area of greatest significance. How-To Guide
Process Mapping Techniques & Tools   coming soon
Spaghetti Map   coming soon
Waste Walk Worksheet The Waste Walk Checklist helps to identify any non-value-added activities within a process. How-To Guide
Template

Plan for Change

The purpose of the Plan phase of the RAPID methodology is to prioritize and select solutions and plan for process change, making sure to obtain approval from the project sponsor for process changes. A concrete action plan will be formed, including deadlines and action owners.

Methodology Tool Description Resources
Solution Prioritization Matrix This assists project team members to evaluate the multiple recommendations and solutions, scoring them according to a set of objective criteria. How-To Guide
Sample
Template
Solution Action Plan The Solution Action Plan identifies the actions required to implement the selected solutions. It specifies the owner and a tentative timeline for each action. How-To Guide
Sample
Template

Implement Changes

The purpose of the Implement phase of the RAPID methodology is to execute the action plan and tasks that were established in the previous phase. Project team members will complete the tasks on the plan and the facilitator will follow up to ensure progress is made.

Methodology Tool Description Resources
Check-in Meeting Agenda The facilitator may want to schedule multiple individual or group meetings to check in on the progress being made by the team on the planned action items. Sample
Template
5S Methodology Guide Use the 5S methodology to improve safety, increase ownership of the workspace or item, improve productivity, and improve maintenance tasks. Guide

Determine Success

The purpose of the Determine phase of the RAPID methodology is to evaluate the outcome of the project. A final report will be prepared that summarizes the activity, decisions, and improvements made during the project.

Methodology Tool Description Resources
Lessons Learned Questionnaire When completed by project team members, a Lessons Learned questionnaire can help the facilitator and team learn from mistakes made during the project as well as successes. This is best to send out at the end of a project for small projects. For larger projects, Lessons Learned questionnaires can be sent at the midway point and at the end of a project, or at the end of each phase of the project. Sample
Project Follow-up Checklist   coming soon
Project Summary/Final Report A final report summarizes the project team's activities during each phase of the project, including the tools used and deliverables such as a future-state process map. It should also include the outcome of the project. This can be delivered to the process sponsor, the project owner, and the project team. Template