<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1907245749562386&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Event_bg

The Leonardo Blog

All Posts

The importance of a process measurement friendly culture

15_Blog_aUGUST-4

One of the most significant roadblocks to robust process performance governance—and subsequent process improvement and management—is the absence of a measurement-friendly organizational culture. In an organization where process measurement is a precursor to the allocation of blame, the instinct is to measure as little as possible and to conceal the measures that are unavoidable. Where performance process measures are collected to facilitate disparagement, enthusiasm for testing and reporting performance cannot be expected.

Measurement phobia...is the enemy of process improvement. 

During a process-improvement project, a strange conversation happened with a senior manager. The project team was investigating a process with a customer satisfaction problem, and had developed three change ideas that would significantly increase customer satisfaction at quite low cost. Quite rightly, the team was pleased with its work. However, the senior manager pushed back and found reasons why the changes should not be made. This went on for several days, with the team dispatching each new objection as it came up. Finally, the manager took the project leader aside and explained that his real concern was that if customer satisfaction increased from 83% to 95%, he would get sacked. He was prepared to accept a new target of 85% and that, over time (a year or two), it might be “safe” to achieve the 95% mark. He was serious. This was a culture of continuous dissembling, not continuous improvement.

Most people will readily agree that continuous improvement is a noble aspiration and a practical objective. The other side of that same coin, however, is to be continuously finding aspects of the organization that are not performing as well as they might. This ‘negative’ perspective is not always as welcome. Explaining to a manager that there are ways to cost-effectively achieve significant improvement in the performance of one of her processes may not be received as the good news it was thought to be. The manager, and the organization, might see that as a past failure rather than an ongoing success.

To some extent, this happens in all organizations. When was the last time that finding a new performance problem triggered a celebration in any organization?

Measurement phobia, caused by an organization’s predisposition to use performance data to censure rather than improve, is the enemy of process improvement and management. The personal, team, and organizational culture must be such that all stakeholders are always looking for, and openly finding, things that need to be improved.

A process measurement-friendly culture is a prerequisite for the success of process-based management. Such cultural change needs to be actively nurtured in parallel with the process performance measures discovery ideas outlined in the paper below.

Process Measurement BPM

Roger Tregear
Roger Tregear
Roger is a Consulting Director 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.

Related Posts

The Ultimate Guide to Process Modelling

A new day, a new process modelling project. The project plan has been signed off, reference documentation was gathered, all stakeholders have been identified and now…now what? While process models increase in popularity and most businesses seem to agree that process models are indeed a good way of representing how an organisation creates and delivers value, there is little to no guidance on what a good process model is, how to create one and how to successfully go about executing a process modelling project. While this guide does not claim to be a silver bullet for all your process modelling problems (look at our Modelling Excellence framework for that!), it aims to be a guide for Project Managers and BPM Professionals in every stage of the modelling journey, regardless of whether you’re just kicking off a new modelling project, are in the middle of a major project, or are just looking for a refresh. Please note that this guide does not address steps to set up or configure a process modelling tool. It is focused on the activity of process modelling.   Let’s get started! This section includes topics that should be covered prior to kicking off any process modelling project. If a project is already underway, but struggling, we recommend revisiting this section to ensure the basics have been covered. If your project is already underway and going well, you may opt to skip ahead to the “Business Process Modelling” section. It’s all about the purpose… Firstly, ensure the purpose for modelling has been identified and agreed upon by all stakeholders. Whether it is communication, training, process measurement, improvement or configuration of a workflow tool, any modelling effort must serve a purpose. Major decisions such as “What modelling tool is the right one?” as well as minor decisions such as “Should I include this detail in my model?” can easily, logically and consistently be answered once the purpose has been identified. Consequently, if a clear purpose for modelling cannot be identified, no time and money should be spent on modelling as the models would end up being waste. The start of a process modelling project is also a good time to identify additional use cases for process models and pitch those to the stakeholders. The more use cases there are, the more robust the business case for process modelling becomes. Models that are re-used often are valuable to the organisation, rather than just useful for a one-off project. This does not mean that creating models for one-off use is waste. Although we generally recommend maintaining and re-using process models as much as possible, there are many valid use cases for and circumstances under which organisations choose to create process models that will be deleted once the project is completed. We do however emphasise that this purpose needs to be clearly identified and agreed upon, so nobody comes looking for the model two years later and needs to then kick off another modelling project since the former models are either out-of-date or nowhere to be found. Understanding the purpose of modelling will also help Modellers in the information elicitation and model validation stages of the project. They must always be prepared to explain what they are doing, why they are doing it and how it benefits the organisation. A strong pitch for modelling, tied back to the purpose, will help to keep stakeholders focused during workshops.

Moving From Continuous Improvement to Continuous Process Management

  Continuous process improvement is a common organizational aspiration, and it is one of the most difficult things an organization can attempt. The continuous aspect is quite a challenge, as is realizing business performance improvements—especially once the easy and obvious changes have been made. Organizations need an ‘internal improvement engine’ that replaces insistence with evidence.

Process Architecture vs the Organisation Chart

  In my working life I spend a lot of time working with client organizations to discover and capture useful models of their process architecture. In every country, industry sector, organization type and size, there is a common problem that bedevils every project. We all, and I include myself here, can too easily slip into the habit of the last 100 years (or you might argue 1,000 years) of visualizing the organization as its organization chart. Comments such as “What about the work they do in department X?” might just be a useful test for a developing process architecture, or they might indicate a lack of understanding of what the architecture represents.