Improving Processes & Services

Structured Problem Solving

Helpnote - Types of Improvement Projects

There are many types of improvement project but generally they fall under one of three headings as illustrated in the diagram below:

Three Types of Improvement Projects

Each of these three types of projects need to be approached and tackled in different ways and using different stages, as illustrated in the table below. Its useful at this point in the project  to try to identify the general approach you need to take to the project and the broad stages it will need to go through. Think about your own project and see if it fits into any of these categories.

Type of Project
General Approach

1. Where the “Solution” is Obvious

Examples:- move photocopier, replace light bulb.


  • Plan Implementation
  • Consult
  • Implement

2. There are many Small “Root” Causes

Examples:- missed appointments, asylum problems

Map Causes

  • Fishbone the problem
  • Prioritise  the causes
  • Tackle a few of them
  • Continue with the rest

3. Problems with Delays, Slow Reactions

Examples:- slow prosecutions, late orders, slow claims, complaints

Map Processes

  • Process Map
  • Prioritise & Select the problems identified
  • Tackle a few of them
  • Continue with the rest