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In a recent ProcessMAP company RoundTable we heard from Abby Ferri, CSP from Gallager, and Lindsay Bell, MPH, CSP from Solvay about an original concept, PITSTOP for Change – A tool for EHS project management. They began this Roundtable by giving a bit of background with the origins of PITSTOP for change. The idea for this project management tool came about after a presentation they gave at the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) Professional Development conference in 2020. As stated by Ferri, “The original presentation was about diversity, equity and inclusion and how you can have a more equitable safety committee and how to bring diversity into safety in your workforce.”
As they were developing this tool they realized that it was going to be a great asset to any EHS challenge or project management because their whole point is that diversity really helps avoid that echochamber which helps in solving problems more effectively. Which in return makes an organization’s safety committee more useful and effective. This is very important in the planning and design process as well as project management because the influence of a broader perspective will help any team thrive. They were able to configure the PITSTOP tool to help diversify organization’s teams with new perspectives as well as using it for project and meeting management.
As they began to create PITSTOP for change they looked at the A3 format and formulated PITSTOP in a similar manner because they had inadvertently done that already. By using this format they were able to find ways that teams could get together to diversify and identify problems. As background, A3 helps people look at their problems in systems rather than just at face value or up and down, this allows them to see the full picture and the effects that it will have on other processes. This format not only encourages a team to find the best solution to the problem but also in the shortest most efficient amount of time. Many people in the Environmental, Health, and Safety Industry (EHS) are familiar with PDCA which stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act which A3 closely resembles to supplement the problem solving process.
Ferri mentioned that they believe that using these two processes is more important than finding a solution the first time because the team will then learn how to system think and problem solve which inevitably over time will lead to efficient, quick problem solving. Alongside A3 and PDCA, SMART Goal Setting is another tool that helps foster systems thinking. Smart stands for, Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time Bound. All of these classical tools have been around for years but the PITSTOP tool is the perfect addition to layer with the rest of these tools in order to receive better results and encourage their teams to problem solve.
Ferri and Bell then went on to break down what PITSTOP is and what it stands for. The first letter of PITSTOP stands for Pause which is when you define the problem and collaborate and listen to different perspectives. This phase is responsible for finding your purpose which is essential to the preparation and objectivity prior to a meeting.
The following key factor of this function is determining your KPI’s which is a key performance indicator. What gets tracked gets accomplished; as you need to determine how this relates to the success of the project. During this phase it is essential that business justification is discussed, including funding and support.
The next element in PITSTOP for change is Invite which includes people who are productive and proactive on a determined purpose. It is essential that the sample group is diverse and representative but that it includes people who are passionate about the purpose and want to be there working on the given project.
Moving along to the “T” in PITSTOP, which stands for Trust. Once you bring people to the table, it is necessary that you listen to them and ensure they are heard and have open communication. As a leader it is your responsibility to ensure that the people in the group feel as though their voice is heard and their opinions matter. This is the only way to bring productive discourse and build trust between the team.
Next is “S” which stands for shift gears. This is collecting and setting forth a plan to put the gathered information to use. People grow tired of seeing feedback and suggestions not go to use so shifting gears to use the feedback is an essential function. By using the information and putting into action this will contribute to the growth of trust in the team.
The next “T” in PITSTOP stands for Turn The Corner. This indicates turning a thought into an action by turning the corner and putting in effort to implement change. A large part of this section is by just doing; taking the initiative to do something different and try something new for the project.
The “O” in PITSTOP stands for Open. This is applicable in every step of your project but especially at the closing. Keeping yourself open to further learning and failing is the best way to keep moving forward.
The final step in PITSTOP for change is to proceed. Proceeding is to challenge your habits and seek new perspectives. By applying what you have learned to your next endeavor it will help aid in the prosperity of the next project. While proceeding will look different depending on your project and your organization, the PITSTOP tool is an endless cycle, so rethink and repeat!
PITSTOP for change is a helpful project management tool that will foster your organization to reach a more diverse and inclusive environment that welcomes new perspectives. This tool is a perfect addition to other management tools such as A3, PDCA, and SMART Goals. The implementation of PITSTOP for change will diversify and promote new ideas that will help your organization reach project goals and EHS Project management excellence.