The Introduction to the Cavi Method

In the last post on the “three layers” of process, we completed our formal process definition by outlining these three layers which make up every process:

  1. Workflow (physical, occurring)
  2. Design (theoretical, planned)
  3. Value chain (theoretical, inherent)

These three layers form the Cavi Process Improvement Framework (CPIF). From a theoretical perspective, we have already demonstrated how the layers always exist together; however, in a practical setting, it will usually not be possible to clearly view all three layers at once. Given this, how do we execute process improvement within this three-layer framework? This is where the Cavi Method comes in. Compared to more well-established methods such as DMAIC (SixSigma) or PDCA (Deming Cycle), The Cavi Method and its underlying three-layer framework (CPIF) are proprietary expansions to these more familiar pillars of modern process improvement.

The key point of the CPIF is that any workflow you observe is informed by a process design (whether articulated or not) that is built on top of a value chain. Deriving the value chain from observing workflow is the secret to process improvement mastery. Once the value chain is understood, changing the process to remove waste is simply a matter of aligning the physical work more closely to the ideal process design, which should also align as closely as possible with the value chain. While it is not easy work, understanding the value chain provides clarity on what needs to be done throughout its lifecycle. Understanding the CPIF is what allows you to perform this type of analysis and improvement, which is summarized in the Cavi Method, outlined below. The Cavi Method offers a simple path for understanding workflow (layer one) and re-designing the process design (layer two) to better match the underlying value chain (layer three).

Because what we are describing here is applicable to all process, and process is everything in motion, this method is truly universal. The steps we have been discussing to execute the Cavi Method are summarized below in steps 2-6. Step 1 of the method is problem analysis, which will be covered on its own in a separate post.


The Cavi (Process Improvement) Method

1)     Problem Analysis: Correctly identify and scope the problem

2)     Capture: Through observation, capture a description of the current workflow layer (i.e. what is currently happening in the physical world)

3)     Visualize: Based on this captured workflow information, visualize the design layer, typically in the form of a process map (i.e. what the accurate version of this current physical workflow looks like on a theoretical basis)

4)    Analyze: Based on analysis of this design layer visualization, identify the inherent value chain layer driving this process design (i.e. why are we doing this process in the first place? What makes this process valuable?)

5)    Design:  Based on this understanding of the value we want to create, visualize a new “to-be” design, which is informed by the value chain and re-designed for improvement within constraints. (i.e., how can we optimize the process design at the theoretical level to better align with creating the value we want to create?)

6)     Enable: implement changes in the new “to-be” workflow configuration (i.e., the physical changes that make the workflow match the new, to-be design)

The following image displays the Cavi Method visually. Try to relate this image to the three layers of the CPIF and think about movement through the three layers:


The Cavi Method: Universal Process Improvement Flow

Understanding the nature and power of the value chain is critical to the Cavi Method and underpins the difference between effective and ineffective process work. Therefore, the next post in this series will dive deeper into the definition of value, value creation, and what is meant by the “value chain” before we continue to walk through how to apply the Cavi Method in more depth.