Learning to Live With Process Performance Gaps

Sometimes the R for the I Isn’t Worth the Effort and Expenditure


Sometimes it’s best to live with a Problem or to miss an Opportunity. Sometimes there are bigger fish to fry – elsewhere. Or – there aren’t enough resources to tackle that Issue – Problem/Opportunity – right now. Or ever.


But there are things that you need to do first – several things to do first – before launching into that Effort and Expenditure. Or deciding to not do that. Not address the P/O. The Issue. And then live with it.


Ya gotta do the math. Ya gotta map the process. Ya gotta frame the problem and/or opportunity.

And ya gotta do those 3 things in the reverse order.


Frame the Problem and/or Opportunity

How you frame your problem and/or opportunity depends a bit on your enterprise culture – at least the culture in your working sphere.

How you present the big picture, bottom line, and then all or enough of the stinkin’ details to satisfy the challengers – in good or bad faith – is something you need to determine. If you’ve got an issue (problem/opportunity) that is a “big enough deal” – to key stakeholders – then they’ll either need more details – unless they already trust you based on what you’ve done for them lately.

Buzz Thoughts...a

Map the Process

That Issue – problem/opportunity – impacts some Process or Processes – is created in some Process or Processes.

Pinning this down may or may not be easy.

Eventually you might use some sort of diagram or map to portray the Issue.


And just as architectural rendering go from the big view to the successive layers of detail – you might have multiple layers to explain the Issue.

This too may be somewhat culturally driven. So your Maps and levels of detail, and styles, may vary.

Do the Math

Ya gotta do the math. The ROI.

To the level and detail needed by the stakeholders. Those necessary to enable the Effort and Expenditure forecasted. By the ROI.

The I – the Investment costs – the only a little tricky to calculate compared to the R.

I my view, the R can be Rewards Achieved (RA) and/or Risks Avoided (RA) – just as they are both in my view two sides of the same coin – so to speak.

The I – Investment Costs need to consider both Initial Costs and Life-Cycle Costs – for the “planning period” – in months or years. Typically for a 1 to 3 year period – but check within your organization to determine what the hurdle rates are, currently – knowing that they might often change.

ROI – and the details and methods for calculating and adjusting and assessing risks and assuming costs for capital over the planning horizon, in any Enterprise, is often a cultural norm.

Figure that out before assuming anything.


Ya gotta do the math. Ya gotta map the process. Ya gotta frame the problem and/or opportunity.

And ya gotta do those 3 things in the reverse order.

And when the R for the I doesn’t meet the hurdle rate (currently) being used – stand down. And live with your Problem – or Opportunity Missed – because there are those times when it’s cheaper to live with the Problem than to Solve it.

Unless your Enterprise is self-actualizing – and faces no future threats or challenges – and has plenty of assets – you probably cannot afford CI – Continuous Improvement – on anything and everything. Not to start. Not until the R’s for the I’s accumulate a bit – to self fund another round of Improvements. First simply for the sake of the Enterprise. Second for the Sake of Continuous Improvement – if at all. IMO.

Yours may vary.

As will your frame, your map and your ROI.


For the only constant nowadays – is constant change.

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One comment on “Learning to Live With Process Performance Gaps

  1. Pingback: Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – May 2015 | The world is too small? or Is it?

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