Processes are beautiful things, so rational, calibrates our efforts, helping us to be great and creating a common platform for everyone. I am a process lover, for me there is really no other way of doing things, the process always comes first. For me it is very clear what a process is, what it brings and how it works best. However, being a process nerd, I am not a very good, representative, example.
Most organizations are failing to use their processes, not getting the value they want and many times abandoning their processes.
How come implementing a process is such a hard task to perform? In our daily lives, we have a lot of processes that we do not even reflect over, we just do things the right way, because this is what we have learned works best for us. The way we conduct our morning routines is a very good example. The big difference when comparing these, everyday processes, with work processes in an organization things of course are a lot more complicated. For example, suddenly things are not totally adapted to only one person but many.
Can you please tell me what is a process? What are the logical parts? When is a process implemented?
Again, think about your morning routine, how is that process working? What kind of tools, what are the inputs/outputs and what is the overall process goal? To use your morning process, do you constantly need to read documentation about the included steps? No, right? However, if someone should use your process, you need to teach him or her how things works. In addition, the process support you have, such as alarm clock, the shower, perhaps the ironing board for your shirt, or even better, your Bluetooth heart rate monitor that adds that cool perspective of measuring progress for you morning run. Take a minute or two to consider your morning process, how it works, what you need to execute the activities. Now, let us change perspective to the corporate world.
To me it is obvious why corporations fail to implement AND use their processes.
Showing a 5-color slide set on Friday afternoon in the big conference room, followed by sending out links to 343223 pages of work instructions, or even performing the mandatory 2-hour process training, does not do the trick. Unfortunately the organization are dealing with something that is deeply anchored in the organizational culture, how things are done, and the words “this is how we do things here” are the far most common words that are spoken to enforce the always-appearing resistance to change. I will not dig deeper in how to change these things right now, this is for later posts, however I want to make sure you understand that your processes are more complex than your products and just think how much you are investing in them, before selling them.
I want you to consider a few aspects of your processes, mastering these greatly will improve your performance and efficiency, I have seen (and made) it happen many times, believe me.
Processes does not replace the intellect, skills and personal qualities of your employees, however they are really good at calibrating HOW activities should be carried out, to coordinate efforts in different parts of your organization. This is how you should consider your processes, and tell everyone, process is not bad news for anyone, perhaps excluding the super expensive consultancy firm that want to sell you a huge process framework, mostly consisting 34324234 multi-colored slides. 😉
The process documentation is as useful as a 3423423-page manual for your new car and should be used as such, a reference for when in doubt. Banging on your chest for your supercharged process documentation is just not cool. The best processes only requires documentation for learning and the occasional reference, otherwise it is not really implemented.
Process comes first. Buying tools or hiring consultants to implement [paste just anything here] turnkey solutions that requires your organization to adapt a lot will not help you. Tools are to help us, not the other way around.
Processes needs the M-M-M cycle, they need to be Monitored, Measured and Managed, make sure you have a few KPIs (not metrics, focus on results, not details), otherwise you have absolutely no clue about how you really are doing and the process will quickly become obsolete.
You need a process organization. To do the MMM cycle you need a process manager, or similar, and the other executing roles needs to be included. Much like everyone does with projects, you should manage your process resources. I cannot even begin to tell you how bad it is to simply add the process roles to all the other tasks some key person has. How do you assign a project manager? Yes, I thought so, with resource contracts.
Last, but not least, be honest to yourself, If the only thing you have is a set of super cool process documents and/or a 250 page PowerPoint presentation from an expensive consultancy firm, you really just have the first 10%, your process job is just beginning.
Now, I want to try an experiment. I have been blogging more seriously for a couple of weeks now and I am trying what people are interested to read about. So, please tell me, write a comment or send me an e-mail, I promise I will listen, consider and likely blog about what you are asking for. Thanks!
Ok people, take your processes seriously, stay smart, and have a great weekend!