The Key Techniques of Process Improvement
- Published: April 8, 2015
- Written by Frank Kowalkowski
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:
- Use a consultant to facilitate or actually do the process effort
- 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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