Reengineering Doesn't Work - Use SSOI

Improvement Insights Blog

Reengineering Doesn’t Work – Use SSOI

Any time you get the urge to completely demolish your existing systems and try to create a new one from scratch, hit the pause button. Here’s why:

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and QI Macros [software].

“Many years ago, they had a whole push towards “re-engineering.” I remember it was about 1990, Michael Hammer was doing all the re-engineering stuff and it was sort of like, “If you just blew stuff up and started over again, you would end up with a much better something-or-other.” Let me tell you, over three quarters of those re-engineering efforts failed miserably, and some of them killed companies.

“I saw this also in software, people thought, “This system is too cumbersome; let’s just rewrite it.” No, you can’t do that. I’ll tell you why: Because that system has been growing over a course of 5, 10, 15 years, and it knows more about how the company works than anybody could possibly design or define.

“The secret here is we want to not blow everything up, but let’s start to Simplify, Streamline and Optimize, right? As you do that, you’ll find that everything smooths out and then you get ideas about how to Innovate.

“So, let’s not think that you can blow everything up and start over again; it doesn’t work that way. You find you have to start over with a simple system that works and work your way back up to wherever you were before. No, let’s take the thing that we’ve got, Simplify, Streamline, Optimize, Simplify, Streamline, Optimize, Simplify, Streamline, Optimize. Eventually it gets so simple that you [think] “Oh, we could just do it this other way,” and you come up with an Innovation that actually smooths it and simplifies it dramatically.

“So this is how we can move anything forward. You don’t want to blow it up and start over again, you’re not re-engineering. Simplify, Streamline, Optimize and Innovate.

“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s start that process. Let’s go out and start making everything just a little bit better, a little bit faster, a little bit cheaper, and guess what? In no time at all, profits go up, customers notice that you have a better product, sales go up. Good things happen when you do this.

“Let’s create a hassle-free America, hassle-free health care. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”