In many organizations, work activities and individual tasks, at all levels, have not been effectively planned and organized as part of a bigger, cross-functional picture. Walled inside their “functional silos,” managers and their teams focus on taking care of their own part of the sales, marketing, production, delivery, or support process.
All organizational work is part of one or more processes. At their broadest, macro processes can span an entire organization and cut across all major functions or departments. At their narrowest, micro level processes are the work activities, methods, or procedures used by individuals or small groups that make up the myriad of tasks within the broader macro processes.
Through effective process management, cycle times have been reduced from months or weeks to hours or even minutes, costs have been cut by factors of ten or more, product or service delivery times have been slashed, productivity has soared by hundreds of percent, and error rates have dropped by similar amounts.
Why Process Management:
- Functional silos and chimneys create errors, delays, and waste.
- “Turfdom” and political maneuvering.
- Customers dance the bureaucratic shuffle (“that’s not my department”).
- E-commerce can showcase disjointedness to the world.
- Local/department/team sub-optimization.
- Communication, collaboration, and coordination problems.
Steps to Process Management:
- Define key strategic processes with inputs from suppliers and outputs to customers.
- Map out how the process really works.
- Track and analyze process performance.
- Redesign the process to improve performance.
- Monitor, follow up, and continue process improvement as appropriate.
Process Management Pitfalls and Traps:
- Jumping to Step #4 without thoroughly defining, mapping, and analyzing.
- Poor customer/external partner data and input.
- Allowing opinions, power, and politics to override hard data.
- Frontline internal partners not involved.
- Processes narrowly improved at micro/departmental levels.
- Lack of senior managers’ involved leadership.
- Misapplications of major reengineering versus incremental improvement.
- Weak training, ineffective approaches/templates.
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