Mayhem – The Case for Business Process Management
Companies often deny they have a process or admit they dont follow the processes theyve developed. In todays economic environment, many attribute this behavior to a lack of resources. Oddly enough, this behavior and explanation often comes from professionals that know the cost of not establishing or following processes. Leaders have created a seemingly endless list of reasons for dismantling process efforts and eliminating process improvement projects. Lets examine those reasons and how to respond to them:
Reason No. 1: I cant do just a couple of processes. Ive got to improve them all, and Ill never get that done.
Response: Concentrate first and foremost on the processes that touch the customer.
Reason No. 2: Process improvement takes too long.
Response: Not every process requires the same level of resources or attention to build, design or repair. And not every process carries the same importance. Also, most processes can be fixed or redesigned in weeks, and some should be finished in days. Pick the ones that provide the most juice for the squeeze. Get them 80 percent right and get it done. Resort and prioritize frequently. You eat an elephant a bite at a time.
Reason No. 3: All processes require a blank-sheet approach to redesign.
Response: Not true. Some portion of the process can always be salvaged and reused in the new version.
Reason No. 4: Modeling my process is complicated and it wont get me anywhere.
Response: Software is available to perform modeling and save hours of frustrations. It runs the process in the confines of the computer before its unleashed on the organization.
A basic view of BPM and a three step approach to implementation.
Reason No. 5: We dont need to spend time understanding the current process. I already know what the new process needs to look like.
Response: Take the time to understand the current environment. This is by far the best technique for ensuring a smooth transition to the future.
Reason No. 6: Weve already improved our processes.
Response: Process improvement is never done. It is constantly on-going as people, technologies, customer requirements and competitor offerings change.
The point of this discussion is that if your company has responded to profit pressures by dismantling its process management and improvement efforts in favor of simply responding to immediate needs, you must revive mission before the undeniable problems come home to roost. In restarting, reviving or keeping such efforts alive, adjust to the realities of our new economic environment. Reduce what is being done to the available resources and focus on the customer. Then continue to make the business case and document the ROI\ which reminding what has happened in the past when these efforts have been abandoned. The case is as strong now for process improvement as its ever been.