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Tuesday, 26 August 2014 14:13

The Power of Process (Part 2)

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In Part 1 we described the case for process management and end-to-end thinking. Part 2 explores how we can harness the power of the processes.

Process improvement aims to make things better, not fight fires. By engaging in process improvement, we seek to understand the root cause of problems and eliminate non-value adding activities, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction.

Some key steps and techniques to take control of the power of process are:

1. Identify processes: Most cases companies fail to recognize, manage and measure various existing processes. The first step towards process management is to recognize and clarify primary processes so that action can be prioritized.

2. Appoint process owners:In conventional practice, no one is responsible for processes, even though they are identified and prioritized. This is because processes transcend functional boundaries. Hence, it is crucial to appoint process owners who take end-to-end responsibility, accountability and authority for every process.

3. Establish process metrics: The next step involves specifying the metrics by which processes will be measured, formulating baseline for these metrics and setting performance targets for the processes.

4. Prioritize: It is crucial to prioritize processes based on their importance to the customer, their poor performance or their tendency for quick improvement.

5. Convene design teams: Every process requires a team of full-time employees dedicated to creating and implementing new designs for it. These employees must represent various functions involved in the process. The team should also consult other employees holding independent and fresh perspectives.

6. Design: The process design team should evolve new models for process operations. Generally, a set of templates can be used.

7. Implement: The new process design must however be tested before implementation. The process implementation should be done in steps, not at a stretch.

8. Align: The management, measurement and reward systems must be realigned to support the new integrated process as opposed to the old fragmented one.

9. Be Flexible: Processes must not only be developed quickly, they must be constantly revised and improved to meet changing market conditions/customer requirements.

Conventionally, fragmented processes are supported by equally fragmented departmental Information Systems. Newly redesigned and integrated processes cannot reach peak performance using such disjointed systems. Hence, successful process management necessitates integrated information systems alongside realigning and integrating processes.

Many vital factors contribute to the success of process management, but attention is incredibly important though rarely addressed. Devoting sufficient attention to a process is critical for its success. Industry experts cite attention allocation issues and attention shortages as the primary cause for failure of most process improvement initiatives.

Piling process management on top of other initiatives that require attention is a wrong move. When a number of initiatives are ongoing in a company, process management may fail to take off until some of these initiatives are through.

The Bottom Line!

Remember, there is no magic to process management. It is gaining center stage in modern management as the opportunities for performance improvements are too great to be ignored. The goal is to include process management among the top priorities of a company. Else, this crucial element will fail to get the attention it deserves.

The need for process management is pressing, hence the time to begin is ‘now’!


At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at admin@TenStep.com.
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