Chances are, if you’re reading this then you are already a convert to the advantages of process optimisation. You know how it helps you to meet business goals and aids in fine tuning elements of what you do resulting in more revenue, productivity and easier compliance. However, executed badly, it can be a little like grabbing a tiger by the tail. This article looks at five ways in which process optimisation can really fall apart (and ways you can avoid them).
- The first real pitfall in process optimisation comes right up-front; where a process is not studied and examined sufficiently, where the variables and features that will need to be understood are not identified or their values in an ideal (process) world aren’t accurately established. It is rare that these are always identified accurately on the first or second passes – often an optimized process needs to be exposed to the real world and feedback needs gleaning from those involved – but spending time at this stage will save you writing to significantly flawed specifications
- Then we come to KPIs. Key performance indicators should be clearly defined and unaffected by factors other than those you’ve identified, no unpredictable outside influences that throw you off target. It is important that your KPIs are SMART, which means they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bonded, and that they are not open to ambiguity. This is key to establishing high quality indicators.
- The person or persons in charge of the process should have clear ownership of the process optimisation, or at least key aspects of it. If they don’t, it will be difficult to identify what good optimization looks and what the outcomes are. Not having a key process ‘owner’ on board means that no one will really feel responsible for outcomes, which essentially means poor quality outcomes at best, expensive failure at worst.
- The process changes that are being put in place need to be carefully ‘embedded’ into the company and it’s policies. This means ensuring that people are made aware, first of all, of what the changes are, and what they will mean to them. Goals need to be outlined clearly, and progress towards goals needs to be visibly celebrated, so enthusiasm is maintained. All the while, effective training for all staff engaged in the change should be a key feature.
- Then you must commit. This means actually getting some things done, and quickly. Too many companies analyse, drag in consultants and have the walls covered in fancy charts without actually doing anything. Create an action plan from a strategy, assign roles, and then get into action. Inaction is one of the key reasons why process optimisation fails, whether it’s in the sales department or the boardroom.
A company that bears the above in mind should have a great approach to process optimisation. In the end, it is about planning, and then executing with everyone else on board, and above all standing on the shoulders of those who have made mistakes, identified the reasons for failure and then eulogised about it!
Source: BPM Leader