Many organizations that want to map and improve their business processes rely instinctively on one of the oldest tools: a Brown Paper session. On a large sheet of paper, with yellow Post-It notes, the existing processes are mapped. But is this actually still a tool for these times? Is it possible to conduct a process workshop in a smarter way?
Here are five useful tips to get more depth from a workshop:
- It starts with the team Involve the entire team in the workshop. Make sure that all roles, from beginning to end, are represented. If everyone feels responsible and owns his or her own processes, empowerment naturally follows. And don’t forget: it substantially increases the team’s motivation.
- Look at the processes from different perspectives Don’t just study the big picture, but also zoom in on the details of a process. And switch back to an “overview” view, allowing the team to see the big picture.
- Study all exceptions During the workshop, don’t just focus on the greatest common denominator in a business process, but be sure to look at the exceptions. It is precisely in the exceptions that opportunities for improvement are hiding. In human-centric organizations, the number of requests involving exceptions is usually larger than the number of clean casesthat go through the organization.
- Calculate through alternatives immediately Immediately seize on improvement suggestions from the team by calculating the result on the spot. This gives the team members the feeling that they are taken seriously. And successes can be celebrated right away.
- Hang on to the enthusiasm By immediately discussing the effects of improvement proposals, enthusiasm is created in the team. It’s important to maintain that enthusiasm, also after the workshop. So continue with implementing all suggestions as quickly as possible after the workshop is over.
To be able to discuss business processes and map them thoroughly, more advanced methods are needed than a piece of paper and yellow sticky notes. Fortunately, these days there are smart and practical tools to better understand, improve and share processes. If you want to learn more about process workshops, download the free white paper '7 Steps of Process Exploration Workshops'.