business process

Finding the “Goldilocks” improvement project

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In BPM and process improvement the motto is, don’t make just any change, make the right change. How do you select just the right initiative? When you’re starting a BPM journey, you want to get this right – you need the Goldilocks project!

 

I’m sure you’ve seen it before, as I have:- organisations who make large investments, only to find themselves months or years later not delivering –  that’s a scary reality that keeps happening.

 

But how do you avoid those same mistakes? You want your project to be successful; you want to deliver real results that’ll make things better than they were before. Here’s where I parade out those over-used terms “low hanging fruit”, “pick your battles”, “don’t boil the ocean”. Fear not – that’s my parading over.

 

Anyway you look at it, unless you have been given a bottomless budget & zero timeframes for success (yeah right) these are the keys to getting it right:

 

  • Have a senior stakeholder as a sponsor – they’ll set real measurable objectives, help you identify strategic selling points and be your PR manager within the business.
  • Tie your project to a strategic goal to gain & keep senior management support.
  • Start small & work towards bigger. Select strategically and take no longer than 4 months to finish & see rewards.
  • Involve the right business functions. The more diversity you have in team membership, the more diverse your teams’ solutions.

 

Selecting the right project to begin your process improvement journey is crucial…just like that bed that was “just right” for Goldilocks. ‘Til next time – T.

BPM – build your supporter network

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A few years back I was struggling to “sell” the concept of better business performance, by better process management. And I really wanted to implement a tool to support it, allowing the business  to have access to & improve how they did things in incremental steps, as their process maturity grew.

 

I had an “ah-ha” moment during a BPM tool demo  – something I was shown virtually stood up & started shouting, “look at me”. I saw the ability to capture process information such as the cost of an activity while you are capturing the flow. You could capture other process information, such as key controls & risks, roles & responsibilities but it was this cost of process that excited me.

 

I started to think outside the square when I was building up my supporters. With these types of information available, Finance would be very keen to see more, Risk, Compliance & Audit teams would like the ability to flag & tag process activities, there were lots of wins for lots of functions.

 

I organised a demonstration of the tool to key supporters where they could see its potential uses. That was one of my better ideas. The audience went from polite bored interest to avid interest rather quickly. By the end of the demonstration, the business was asking me “so when are we going to have this tool?”.

 

Eureka! The requirement seed had been sown. With some help from Finance I put together the business case and socialized it, so when the business case was presented for approval, supporters were at the ready to give it the thumbs up.

 

Implementing a tool, as you know, is only part of the job done, but that allowed my process champions throughout the business to start centralizing processes.   Having them centralized improved project delivery significantly…no longer would BAs need to re-capture the process, they could use one that was already captured.

 

Governance structures were in place that allowed for the processes to be managed appropriately, so processes became a valuable asset within the company.

 

And that was the start of a great journey…you could do the same. Excite your key supporters by demonstrating different concepts that meets a need. Good luck. ’Til next time -T

BPM Tip #1 – selling BPM

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We’ve all heard the definition of insanity, yeah?  Keep doing the same things over & over, expecting different results.

 

CEOs constantly challenge others to “…improve the bottom line”. Frequently, businesses follow their processes, targets are met, profits are OK, but still the challenge is to deliver more. Sounds like insanity is winning!

 

When all is said and done, for “things” to change, “something” somewhere has to change. In my experience, BPM & business process improvement, can discover that “something” in a business and often in surprising places.

 

Every process must deliver results, meet targets, be measured and more and more these days – meet some type of regulatory code. I can see you nodding your head. Surely, all your processes are being measured & monitored? …What’s that? They aren’t? Excellent, theres a fix for that.

 

If you have a CEO like my example above and you know BPM can help but aren’t sure how sell it or don’t know how to make it a reality, find help. There are key things you can do to sell your idea and they aren’t hard – it’s a matter of being able to identify a problem, quantify the opportunity in terms the C-Level expect (savings) and the proposed “fix”. In essence, its your business case for change.

 

Sounds easy, right? So what are you waiting for? Go stop the insanity. If you need help, get it, secure your support/funding/whatever you need and then enjoy the journey – what an exciting time. I wish I was there…