Redesigning to cut end-to-end time
When you have a multi-step process it's often better to perform the steps one-by-one, even if they could be done in parallel. The reason is that each step offers you a chance to learn something and catch problems early, before you make a large investment.
However, sometimes having low turnaround times is more valuable. In these cases, running steps in parallel can really help. Vanguard, for example, took this approach when it was brought in by a borough council that was trying to reduce the time taken to train nursery school teachers. The training process looked like this:
The CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks were being performed before the training for good reasons. The council didn't want to waste time and money training the wrong people, and there were concerns about child safety during the training.
But when they questioned these assumptions, they realised that in fact only a tiny percentage of applicants failed the background checks and, although the training involved children, the applicants were fully supervised at all times, so the risk was negligible.
They redesigned the process to run the CRB checks in parallel with the training and found they didn't need to make any other changes as this change alone brought them well within their targetted performance level.