PROCESS MANAGEMENT AND CONTINUOUS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

Every Professional Services Organization should follow a Process Management Initiative enabling the project team to document, standardize, and optimize business processes. Process methodology, business modeling tools, and process improvement methodology are the key pieces of process management. The Process Management Initiative should be managed as a project and carried out in a phased approach. I caution Management Consultants engaged in process improvement activities to carefully identify the as-is (current) set of the operation. I also recommend that all Management Consultants establish a set of performance measures prior to embarking on any process management initiative. Intervention for improvement of products and services may occur at several points in the process including but not limited to a missed schedule, cost estimate, or quality attribute of final product acceptance. In addition to interventions the project team should capture and analyze lessons learned for improvement opportunities. The process improvement methodology can be broken down into:

- Process Discovery and Documentation

- Process Analysis

- Process Redesign/Optimization

- Process Implementation and Continuous Process Improvement

PHASE I: Process Discovery and Documentation

This phase involves identifying key processes within a business area, defining process boundaries, understanding roles and responsibilities of process performers and managers, identifying existing process goals and metrics, and documenting current “as-is” processes. These processes are then ranked and prioritized for documentation.

PHASE II: Process Analysis

During the Process Discovery and Documentation activities, some analysis and identification of potential improvement areas occurs. In this phase, a detailed analysis of the “as-is” process and/or processes is performed to isolate operational and organizational issues, and identify risks and opportunities.

PHASE III: Process Redesign/Optimization

Upon completion of the Process Analysis phase, all process redesign and improvement recommendations need to be evaluated to determine how the process will be changed. A new “to-be” process is then modeled with the approved recommendations. A gap analysis is conducted to determine what issues remain prior to implementation of the new process. Deliverables for this phase are a redesigned and documented process to include an action plan for resolving issues prior to implementation. The newly designed and optimized process will be the pivotal starting point for potential information technology or policy change solutions which may automate or further optimize the process performance.

PHASE IV: Process Implementation and Continuous Process Improvement

Effective implementation and continuous process improvement are important factors that will impact the overall success of the Process effort. Analysis of the business case and feasibility of the recommended “to-be” processes must be conducted. Appropriate changes must be selected and an implementation plan formulated. Business process changes must be integrated with processes owned by other organizations. Supporting Information Technology solutions must be identified and implemented. Stakeholders must be trained and supported.

In effective organizations, processes are constantly evaluated and improved. The ultimate goal of business process optimization is to better serve stakeholders; which includes establishing a process framework and effort involved in modeling processes to allow better delivery of services. The advantage of documenting processes using an automated process-modeling tool is that the knowledge is retained in a single data repository.

These processes serve as foundational knowledge for enhanced policies and procedures. The process architecture forms a communication baseline to facilitate objective measurement and continuous process improvement.

Author:.

Dr. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC, Dr. Uchil spent over eighteen years in a variety of senior management roles at several large consulting organizations. In addition to his PhD in Business Administration Dr. Uchil also holds an MBA in Consulting Operations Management, a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunicati...

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