July, 2008 -
The key to getting started with process improvement in your job is…… to set a process achievement plan. At the management level, create an objective goal for each of your direct reports to improve one process per month (or quarter).
If you are a proven self-starter and want to make big points with management, (or you personally enjoy improving processes) establish your own achievement plan. Set aside 1 day each month at a time when you are the least busy and follow these simple steps.
Key to success: Share the wins! Communicate to management the key people that helped you achieve your process improvement goals. The more your “wins” are communicated, the more likely they are to continue…
June 2008 -
Establishing a Process Excellence program in a company isn’t as easy as it sounds. The first step is the hardest…
Because process excellence cannot be established or maintained with just a tool (modeling software) or a methodology (six sigma, lean, etc).
Process Excellence is a culture shift, and as all of us who have been part of corporate culture change know – change is as difficult as heading cats..
The question we are most often asked is “where do we start?”
Our reply most often is “it depends.”
The two approaches most often attempted by large companies are to:
Process Excellence has to start small to stick. It must begin with a small, but highly efficient and enthusiastic team of people that believe that it will work. Process Improvement must be “sold” in the company – people have to be convinced that an investment in process will make their company better.
Where do you start? We recommend following these steps in sequence. Don’t begin a new step until you are certain that the prior step is done and dusted.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3 (and of course 4 through 7). For a great process selection xy matrix model tool, email me at MitchelMartin@RM-Improve.com.
May 2008 -
Standardizing modeling “language” is created to ensure powerful and accurate communication with business process models. You must first start by … Identifying and recognizing the tools that have been used in your company to develop these models in the past. Regardless of any new process modeling initiative, chances are that many of your users will not have access to the new software or will perhaps still feel more comfortable using the tools they have been using in the past. Creating a “modeling template” is the best solution.
What should an effective modeling template contain in order to be the most effective? It should start with these three main components.
Standardization must start with a core group of people, each from a respective area of the business to ensure that the basic objects and models that they ALL need are identified and used. Someone must be assigned to the maintenance and publishing of updates to this document on a regular basis.
One last note about modeling standards. There are a lot of organizations and groups in the BPM environment promoting their standards for business modeling. In our opinion, they are inefficient and ineffective as every business is different, and the modeling terminology and standards are equally different, as the core begins with the actual terminology and “language” in the company. These industry standards can provide some guidance, but you will be more successful by forming a group within your company’s BPM community and establish your own standards rather than re-educating the entire company and forcing them to adhere to a “foreign” modeling language.
If your company is new to business modeling and have created many of your models in Microsoft® Visio®, attached is a very simple modeling objects and properties document to get you started. Click on this Modeling Standards Document link to get started.
February 6, 2008 - What good are business process models if they can’t be located when someone needs them? A simple solution is a model log. Integrate the log with your documentation program, so that anyone needing a specific model can find it easily. The simplest way to do this is creating a modeling log as part of your documentation package and easily accessed on the company intranet, SharePoint or documentation library.
The benefits of a modeling log include:
A manual model log is the perfect place to begin developing modeling library for your quality management system (QMS). Use this BPM Modeling Log to get started.
January, 2008 - Don't underestimate the power of a good BPM tool - but don't overestimate it either. Without modeling standards backed by a solid methodology you might as well spend your company resources on other things. The problem with businesses implementing a new BPM tool, is that the tool is often expected to bring BPM improvements to the company. Trust me - it won't, regardless of what your BPM software salesman tells you. BPM software is only a tool. It is like being given a football without understanding the game. If you can't throw, catch or execute plays, the football isn't much good is it? The same applies to a BPM Tool. Software training alone isn't enough - two key investments must be made to fully utilize your new BPM tool.
1) You must be trained in BPM methods - without a full understanding of how to improve processes how can you analyze and execute?
2) You have to be patient and give time for the process improvements to work. Often after implementation, a few things have to be "tweaked" to optimize and realize the value of the efforts. Process Improvement must be nurtured and given time to grow.
To get a good idea as to where to start, read the book "Business Process Improvement Workbook" (documentation, Analysis, Design, and Management of Business Process Improvement). Written by H. James Harrington, Erik K.C. Esseling and Harm Van Nimwegen.
December, 2007 - More than 4 hours in a facilitated modeling session is a waste of time. You will get more done in two 2-hour sessions than in an entire 8-hour day. According to studies regarding Kaizen and Brainstorming sessions, attention spans and conversation side-tracking begin in as little as 40 minutes. And forget about the hour after lunch - you might as well schedule a 45-minute lunch, followed by a 45-minute "read your emails and make your phone calls" break. This will allow everyone time for their lunch to settle and get their real work done - you will find that your facilitation team will be a lot more effective this way.