Process improvement – NOT!

In the early 20th century someone said:  “Process improvement is the focused application of common sense.”

Yesterday I took my son to collect his ID document at the Department of Home Affairs.  We stood for over an hour in a row with only 4 people ahead of us until we were finally helped.  Because I was bored, I started reading the numerous signs that had been put up against the wall with all their rules and regulations.  These signs had been printed out on A4 computer paper and were stuck against the wall.

The first, dog-eared with age, struck me:


This was good news.  It meant that they were interested in improving their processes.  Knowing how long one usually has to wait to be helped, I was optimistic at being helped sooner since the sign was obviously old.

I was patient – I had expected to wait a while.  I certainly did not expect to wait an hour in a short queue!

I looked at the other signs.  There were two signs that were put up side by side.  Suddenly I burst out laughing.  The blatant lack of common sense was astounding.

The first sign said:


 That made sense.  But the sign next to it made no sense.  It outlined the process on what to do when reporting a death.  Point number 2 read:



Should I bring the deceased to the office so that they can take thumb prints?  Or wouldn’t it just be easier to cut off the left thumb and bring it to the office so they can take prints?

What were they thinking?

Are you aware of illogical processes in your organization?  Are you using common sense?

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