top of page

Observation Form

Taking the time to observe a process is a valuable way to understand better what works well, and what does not.

What is a process time observation form used for?

To observe and analyze the process Cycle Times for each process step, performed by each "task handler". 

This article will take you through the steps on how to use the form correctly, to capture the data accurately to enable later analysis.

We also listed 8 tips for starting an observation session.

Step 1 – Use a process observation form
  1. Print the form to write on

  2. Select the process to be observed

  3. Select (ideally) more than one employee for observing the process multiple time.  One form per person is required.

Process Optimization
Step 2 – Time the process
  1. Use a stop watch to observe the time taken to the person for the process

  2. Record the time as you observe, measured in minutes

  3. Sit with the person performing the task.  Write down everything the person does.  Even record interruption times unrelated to the process itself.  Be fully attentive. Observe everything. Especially things that happen unexpectedly

  4. Analyse types of Waste directly on the observation sheet

Step 3 – Analyse the process
  1. Collect all completed Process Observation forms

  2. Compare each form for deviations in the process, ideas for improvement

  3. Often, the biggest "aha" moments come from insights gained from the Comments section of your time study form

Standard Work Instructions
8 tips for an observation session

1. ​Explain that your focus is on the process — not the person.  And that the goal is to improve the process,

2. Be extra courteous and sensitive to possible emotions.  Don’t fiddle, play with your hands or make other distractions,

3. Engage the person doing the work,

4. Before you start your observations, and after you finish your observations, you can talk with the person and help to identify things that get in their way, and to hear their ideas for how to make their work easier,

5. Acknowledge him or her as the person who knows the most about this process, and puts the two of you "on the same side of the table" to work together to improve the process that you both care about.

6. Allow extra time to listen to their ideas — and write them down. The most important end result of your process observation is to encourage the person doing the work to become actively engaged in helping to improve the process. Listening to them should not be viewed as "getting in the way of observing the process".

7. Once you start observing — discourage conversation, reminding them that there will be plenty of time for that during the interview part of the process.

8. While observing, you want to be as unobtrusive as possible so that you can observe how the work is done as if you're not there



Taking the time observe a process is a valuable way to understand better what works well, and what does not. 


Recording comments, timings and areas for improvement will become clear and apparent, and you can define an Action Plan on how to improve the process either with quick fixes, or over time.

As a Lean consultancy, we are passionate about simplicity and Lean is a mindset that we apply in all our areas of activity. Our Lean Office and Leadership-oriented communication training programs act as a catalyst to help you accelerating your professional skills and abilities to face the future of work.

bottom of page