Most of the organizations stress on using Agile delivery approach over Waterfall method. However, there is another approach that can be used in executing RPA projects, called as KATA Model.

What does RPA bring to the table?

Step 1 – Define Challenge/s that we wish to solve. Leadership team plays an active role in defining these challenges that the implementation team can solve

Step 2 – Grasp the current condition and figure out what’s the current performance or system of work as it is today. Various stakeholders need to understand the current condition of the system/process that needs to be improved

Step 3 – Focus on the target condition wherein we define the aspirational goal that we wish to achieve. Stakeholders that have a buy-in need to push their knowledge beyond the existing threshold. By doing this, it will force them to think in a different way to put stress on the existing systems of work and make new discoveries

Step 4 – Execution wherein we focus on how we execute that we believe will help us to move from current condition to target condition and is aligned to our goal. At times, teams are afraid of setting goals that they think can’t be achieved or hard to achieve and sometimes they set the targets that are easy to achieve and hence Leadership and Stakeholders need to pitch in to ensure goals are achievable, sustainable and benefits the business post execution.

KATA Cycles

To achieve the end goal, KATA model requires the following technique in the form of multiple cycles. Each KATA cycle consists of following steps:

Step 1 – Cross functional teams and stakeholders that have a buy-in or interest in a problem that needs to be fixed/solved need to come together

Step 2 – Stakeholders need to sit down together and describe some of the target outcomes that need to be achieved

Step 3 – Work together to understand how the current system/process is performing

Step 4 – Together define some interesting target conditions that can be worked towards

However, it is of utmost importance that the success is defined before commencing these KATA Cycles to provide some details about the accountability and a feedback mechanism to understand if the Leadership team is moving towards the desired goal.

I believe that the KATA Model will certainly play an important role during RPA Consulting and Implementation phases of a project.

Let’s take an Example of using KATA Model for an RPA Project

Primarily, top reasons for adopting RPA Automation are

  1. Process optimization by – Reducing the processing time, Reducing the error rate
  2. High number of applications
  3. Improve customer satisfaction by minimizing / eliminating SLA breaches by taking advantage of application availability (in PRODUCTION Environment)
  4. Scalability (handling high volumes)
  5. Better FTE Utilization

With the above reasons in mind let’s see how KATA Model can be applied for RPA Project:

Define Challenge – Optimize process by reducing the Average Handling Time (AHT) of the process

Current Condition – The applications are available 20x7x365 (4 hours normally considered for application maintenance activity), however, the Manual Average Handling Time (AHT) is very high thereby causing SLA breaches

Target Condition – Reduce Average Handing Time and Improve Process SLA, optimize FTE’s for another set of processes

Execution –

Process SME needs to:

  • define the keystrokes and shortcuts that can be used
  • provide insight to whether couple of steps can be eliminated to achieve the end goal
  • eliminate conditions that do not add value or don’t get cases that make use of these conditions

Implementation Team needs to:

  • build multi-bot type of model that runs on multiple machines to handle volumes
  • get some experience on the applications they would be working upon and understand how the data flows / interacts between applications
  • define the conditions that have been built and conduct testing

Leadership Team needs to:

  • verify if the target condition is achieved
  • if no, the above KATA cycle needs to be repeated till the end goal is achieved