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4 steps to creating sustainable business process management

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We don’t want five process analysts – we want 5000. Everyone needs to be a process analyst. We can’t leave the job of finding problems, opportunities for improvement, just to people who have the word ‘analyst’ in their job title.

Here are four things you might consider doing now to get started on the creation of sustainable process-based management:

1. Get active – search for problems

Search and you will find; sit around hoping, and you will be disappointed. Active searching for problems and opportunities is the only way to achieve ‘continuous’, or even ‘regular’ change. Implement an effective improvement suggestion scheme for staff, customers and suppliers. Run problem/opportunity discovery events. Celebrate, or at least acknowledge, the discovery of new problems and opportunities.

2. Create a process view

It’s much easier to find process problems if you know what the processes are. Create an enterprise process architecture that shows at least the top two levels of the process hierarchy. Use that architecture to coordinate the search for problems and opportunities.

3. Mind the gap

A process problem is a gap between the desired and actual performance. An opportunity for process improvement is a way to close the gap between target and actual performance – or go beyond the current target to a new level. You can’t do any of that effectively unless you have defined the performance gap. Set performance targets, measure actual performance, and ‘mind the gap’.

4. Tell someone who cares

The organisation chart is silent on who should worry about cross-functional process performance. Appoint ‘Process Owners, or whatever role title you prefer, to be accountable for doing something when process performance is out of the agreed range or trending in that direction.

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Roger Tregear
Roger Tregear
Roger is a Consulting Associate with Leonardo. He delivers consulting and education assignments around the world. This work has involved many industry sectors, diverse cultures, and organization types. Roger briefs executives, coach managers, and support project teams to develop process-based management. Several thousand people have attended Roger's training courses and seminars in many countries - and Roger frequently presents at international business conferences. Roger has been writing a column on BPTrends called Practical Process for over 10 years. This led to the 2013 book of the same name. In 2011, he co-authored Establishing the Office of Business Process Management. He contributed a chapter in The International Handbook on Business Process Management (2010, 2015). With Paul Harmon in 2016, Roger co-edited Questioning BPM?, a book discussing key BPM questions. Roger's own book, Reimagining Management, was published in 2016.

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