The Key Techniques of Process Improvement

Process Improvement

Process improvement techniques have been evolving

Every organization has some form of process improvement program in effect today. Some of these are enterprise wide and some are focused on key or mission critical processes. Most are somewhere in between. Some are driven by new technologies, new applications and new strategic direction, objectives, goals and initiatives. Some of these projects come from applying management disciplines like balanced scorecard or value streams, agile process techniques, value chain the Rummler –Brache approach to process change or one of the other 50+ disciplines. Whatever the approach, few are well versed in the techniques of process improvement. Most organizations fall back on two approaches:

  1. Use a consultant to facilitate or actually do the process effort
  2. Buy a tool and have the vendor teach you their methodology for using the tool

Both of these put the responsibility outside the organization. It is not surprising the studies show that 75% of process projects are a failure in some way. They may be over budget, take too long, become too complicated, fail to deliver results or actually implement the wrong process. This last one, implementing the wrong process is usually done at the expense of user productivity. So what can be done about this?

Just what is process improvement?

Process mapping is not process improvement. Process mapping will identify where a process is not meeting its original intent. The process team can do maintenance and bring the process ‘up to specification’ that was originally defined for it. Process mapping is also not considered process modeling. Process modeling includes the documents (data) for the process, the decisions (rules) and any other enablers like skills, policies, procedure and technology that are needed to make the process work and deliver results ‘as expected’ by the management.

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Frank Kowalkowski
Author: Frank KowalkowskiWebsite: http://www.knowledgebiz.com
President and CEO of Knowledge Consultants, Inc

Frank Kowalkowski is President and CEO of Knowledge Consultants, Inc.

He has over 30 years of management and consulting experience in manufacturing, distribution, banking, insurance and financial services as well as the public sector. He has been involved with wide range of projects that include business analysis, process management, e-commerce, business performance measurement, business and competitive intelligence, knowledge management, and supply chain management.

In addition to being a keynote speaker at international conferences as well as a conference chair, he has written numerous papers and spoken at conferences on a variety of subjects such as business performance management, technology forecasting, management disciplines, process analytics and management and various aspect of enterprise analysis. He is the author of a 1996 book on Enterprise Analysis (Prentice – Hall, ISBN 0-13-282-3365) and over 70 papers.

He has consulted with Fortune's magazine 100 companies.