Services Process Development

Common Challenges Best Practices Services

For every function. it's important to note that you already have a process in place. Whether you are aware of what it is, whether it is clearly defined, and whether it enables ongoing improvement are the key questions. Always keep in mind that the purpose of a process is to produce performance improvements, not paralysis. Too often, process produces paralysis; and that is a significant indicator that something is drastically wrong. If that is happening to you, you should take immediate actions to diagnose the root cause and to resolve it. There can be many reasons for paralysis, but it needs to be addressed or things will likely get worse.

Our experience in process development includes both comprehensive process mapping and analysis, and developing and implementing process improvement programs. The common challenges we encounter in each of those two areas are detailed below.

We use the universal process model above as the basis for analyzing processes and creating the process flowcharts you may be familiar with. In analyzing existing processes and current process maps, some of the common problems we see are:

  • Information flows are missing from (current) process maps

  • The boundaries of the process are not comprehensive, omitting key elements

  • Inputs and outputs from related processes are not aligned - oftentimes starting with not using a common language and operationalization

  • Roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined

  • Monitoring and reporting systems do not provide adeqaute visibility into processes and sub-processes

  • Organizations drowning in data so that it overwhelms them, causing paralysis or focusing on less important areas - losing the forest for the trees

  • Resource requirements are not well defined or fully committed

We also help design, develop, and implement process improvement programs. With respect to improving processes, common problems are:

  • Process beginning and end points are not clearly defined

  • Inadequate visibility into existing processes and sub-processes does not highlight what areas need improvement and provides limited guidance on how to improve

  • Change is enacted prematurely - before key tasks have been completed

  • Team cohesiveness erodes over time or was never adequately developed

  • Senior management involvement is limited and/or their commitment to change is qualified 

  • Communications do not fully articulate the rationale and plan for change to those affected

  • There is not an adequate method of and/or openness to reconsidering and revising plans, as needed

Of course these are not the only challenges faced in process development, just the common ones we confront in working with our clients.

There are numerous best practices in process development and improvement efforts. Some are universal and many are situation specific. Only the universal best practices will be commented on here. Contact us if you would like to discuss any specific process and best practices related to it.

By design, many of the universal best practices are embedded in the diagram of the universal process model provided above. So the first and foremost best practice is to make certain that your processes include all the components detailed in the model.

What is not detailed in the model above are the best practices related to attitude, culture, and strategy. Some key best practices related to those issues are:

  • Process development project teams should have representatives from all stakeholder groups

  • Representatives from those not affected by the change can be useful in providing unbiased insight

  • Maintaining team collaboration should be high priority

  • Involve employees who are not team members as often as possible and is practical

  • To increase and demonstrate accountability, implementation metrics should be tied to the performance reviews of project team members

  • The commitment and involvement of senior management is critical - they must acknowledge the problem, the organization needs to see they support improvement prgrams, and the program team should answer directly to senior management

  • Take the time to comprehensively understand the current process and its problems, but stay focused and avoid scope creep

  • Before any improvement efforts are initiated, the need for change must be established and justified

  • The risks should be identified early on so that they can be considered in all analyses and proctively addressed if possible

  • Aligning processes across all departments or functions will improve each and overall performance , while improving isolated sub-process may have limited or no effect

  • Put in only as much process as is necessary to accomplish the objectives

  • Make certain the monitoring, tracking, and evaluation systems are well defined, support the objectives, and are practical

  • Ongoing communication - about the need for change, the strategy and vision of the project, the status of the project and milestone achievement, etc. - with all stakeholders is critical to get their buy in and for the overall success of the project

  • Appreciate that change can be difficult and takes times - be patient

  • Acknowldge any setbacks and deal with them quickly

  • Celebrate milestones withinthe team, within departments, and across the organization, as appropriate

As indicated previously, the purpose of a process is to produce performance improvements. To accomplish that, the process needs:

  • To be defined based on best practices and tailored to your situation

  • To be effectively implemented into your environment

  • To have tracking mechanisms that provide visibility into the process as it is ongoing and evaluates how well the output meets objectives

We provide a full range of process analysis and development services o help meet those requirements, including:

  1. Assembling and facilitating process development teams

  2. Mapping your existing processes, including infomation flows, from the macro to micro level

  3. Highlighting value added events and identifying areas in need of improvement

  4. Gathering and analyzing information on objectives, risks, amd key controls

  5. Creating future state maps

  6. Identifying gaps

  7. Defining process enhancements

  8. Developing and implementing comprehensive change management plans, including: training and education, tools and job aids, communications and briefings, and feedback and evaluation systems

  9. A full range of training services (e.g., needs assessment, curriculum development, instructor development, tools and job aids, certification prgrams and materials, and evaluation systems

  10. Developing and implementing monitoring, feedback, and reporting systems for the entire change management project

Contact us to discuss your situation, and how we can help you improve your processes.



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