A Starting Point for Any Project

February 9, 2015    |   By: Calevir

George Heilmeier was, according to Wikipedia, a pioneering contributor to liquid crystal displays.   Throughout his career, he researched and invented things for private industry and the government, eventually becoming the Chief Technology Officer for Texas Instruments.   He developed a set of questions that anyone proposing a research project or product development effort should be able to answer.   Known as “Heilmeier’s Catechism,” they should be helpful to anyone planning safety improvement projects, as well.   Those familiar with the PDSA cycle will recognize this as a valuable expansion of the planning phase.

  • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
  • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
  • What’s new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
  • Who cares?
  • If you’re successful, what difference will it make?
  • What are the risks and the payoffs?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the midterm and final “exams” to check for success?

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