There are different ways to see a process. As we think it is, as we think it should be, and as it really is. When we see a process as we think it is, we are disconnected from reality. When we view a process this way, we cannot see the source of the process’s defects and waste. This is the most common way that people see processes.
When we view a process as we think it should be, we are still not seeing the process for what it really is. Similar to above, when viewed this way we cannot see the source of the process’s defects and waste. Viewing a process from the perspective of how we think it operates, or as we think that it should operate, we are literally working in the world of what we “think”, instead of what really is.
To make any progress in improving a process we must work with reality. When we view a process as it really is, we can see its associated defects and waste. Bottlenecks and hidden factories become visible and critical to quality issues can be linked to particular steps in the process. In the Define Phase of an improvement project, knowledge of the “As Is” process is the foundation of all that follows.
The “As Is” perspective is a perspective of truth. We can make progress toward positive change when we are honest about how our processes really perform. Without the truth, not only will we not improve, it is likely that things will actually get worse.