Most organisations are struggling with an increasing number of management programmes. Where GDPR and compliance programmes already ask for attention, COVID-19 urgently asked us to re-design our services. Costs savings became more adamant and digital transformation continues to push forward. These programmes all put pressure on the teams who are doing the actual work. How do they keep the services going and deal with seemingly contradicting instructions?
Do management programmes put pressure on our processes or are processes the basis for these programmes?
A good process management programme can be the common foundation for all these programmes. But in order to do so, there are 5 requirements you need to take in account:
When Lean practices and process management became more popular, often processes were defined/mapped and improvements suggested by individual consultants and/or IT departments. As all World Class, Theories-of-Constraints, Lean and other process management theories stipulate, the inclusion and empowerment of the operating staff is absolutely essential in any process management programme. Reasons are:
- They are the only ones who know the processes good enough, including all relevant exceptions;
- They often carry enough small improvement suggestions with them to add-up to a huge improvement;
- They can and should be the drivers for change instead of a potential barrier;
- They can reflect any new requirement with the primary services of your organisation.
Process describing- and BPM-tooling are limited to a “high over” approach. They do not specify the relevant exceptions. In reality though, the number of cases needing an exception is often larger than the number of cases not needing an exception (the clean case). Omitting these exceptions creates a non-compliance situation and might lead to services and systems that do not cover all customer requests.
After discussing and mapping processes, the process steps should be enriched with relevant data, like GDPR data, risk data, IT-systems used, roles, documents used etc. This enrichment will help the operating staff to place such data in the context of the services performed. Also, linking such data to processes and process steps will allow you to run reports from the process tooling, thus instantly creating a GDPR register, risk and compliance reports or change management reports from the process tooling.
As organisations will continue to change, it is important to formalise process review meetings. After processes are discussed and new versions adopted by the staff, a review meeting and feedback-sessions should be set up.
It is obvious that IT also plays a key role in process improvements. But taking IT or a system as a starting point doesn’t seem to be the best choice for processes that are currently human centric. Who understands these processes best? The operating staff or the IT staff? In addition, for partially automated or hybrid processes a thorough understanding of the complete process and visualization of the parts that are automated is important.
Visualization of automated process sections
Putting human centric process management at the heart of management programmes will give 5 key benefits.
- The operating staff will carry the required changes; they will be the drivers of change;
- Management programmes can be implemented quicker and with significant cost saving as the common foundation will be in place already;
- Management programmes will be more successful as all relevant exceptions will be included from the start;
- Reports can be generated without any extra costs and from a shared perspective instead of separate reports per programme i.e. leading to standardization and fewer contradictions;
- Outside-in process improvements result in increasing customer value and higher customer satisfaction scores.
When putting your process management programme at the heart of other programmes, it is important to empower your operational staff and let them be the driving force for change in the organisation. You need to discuss and map your processes in sufficient detail, including all the relevant exceptions. Make sure IT is involved but not in the lead, operating staff understands the processes best. Doing these things will create a foundation for future transformation, which will ultimately yield many benefits for the organisation.