As with most things in business, we often start the design stage of a major Business Process Management project with the best of intentions. We know there are numerous ways to increase efficiency, improve productivity, and simplify the work of our employees thats what Business Process Management is all about. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions, it can be surprisingly easy to get lost along the way. To give yourself the best chance of staying on the right path, please keep in mind the following five steps:
- Start with metrics
- Involve your staff
- Choose software thats right for you
- Run a pilot program
- Continually revise and refine
Start with Metrics
Metrics are the obvious starting point for any business Process Management project. You know there are areas with room for improvement, and you may even have a reasonably good idea what those areas are, but metrics hard data is what will help you determine exactly what areas are performing sub-optimally, in what ways they are doing so, and in what ways they might benefit from a BPM solution. This will also help you to prioritize which areas you should focus on and which you should not.
That being said, never forget that metrics are merely a starting point. Many new Business Process Management projects fail because the implementation team focuses so much on the numbers that they overlook important factors such as the context those numbers fit into, as well as the people who will be using the tools they are developing. To make proper use of even the best data, its important to consider what you already know about the company, the ways the company currently does business, and the people who will be using the BPM tools.
Involve your staff
Business Process Management is an extremely complex, and demanding field, and no one without extensive training and experience is capable of designing an effective BPM system. That means youll need some BPM specialists on your development team, but it does not mean that the team should be comprised entirely of BPM specialists. Nor does it mean that the development team should work in isolation from the rest of the company, focusing exclusively on the processes while ignoring the people who will be using them.
At a bare minimum, the front-line staff who will be adopting these new processes need to be consulted regarding their needs, as well as what they see as lacking from the current methodologies. Ideally, members of the front-line staff will be involved on an ongoing basis with the development and implementation process. In addition to ensuring that the designs of the new processes are informed by the real-world needs of the people who will be using them, this has the added benefit of giving your staff a sense of ownership, of personal investment, in the Business Process Management project.
That sense of ownership will translate into higher adoption and usage rates once the new procedures are implemented. For any new process to have a chance of success, people need to use it.
Choose Software Thats Right for You
Not all businesses are the same, not all business needs are the same, and not all business Process Management software solutions are the same. When it comes time to choosing the software you'll use to manage your new BPM system, its important to take into account the specific business needs you are facing, as well as the direction you intend to go in the future.
Run a Pilot Program
There are two primary benefits to starting your BPM project implementation with a pilot program. The first is that, by initially having a partial implementation, you allow your staff to more gradually acclimatize to the new way of doing things. People generally resist change, but by introducing the change incrementally you allow them more time to adapt.
The second benefit is in allowing your implementation team to iron out as many bugs as possible before the new processes go system-wide. Any new system will experience problems and growing pains, and working on a smaller scale makes it much easier to find and fix those problems.
Continually Revise and Refine
Your business Process Management system is itself a business process, and that means constantly looking for ways to improve it in the same way you would any other business process. Effectively what that means is that your BPM project will never truly be finished it will always be in beta. Because your business Process Management system affects many aspects of the way your company operates, improvements to your BPM have a cascading effect that results in improvements to all of your business processes, which in turn results in more significant cost savings and increased productivity.