Every business runs into issues with their processes from time to time. We’ve all seen situations where a formal process was never developed in the first place, one was implemented but didn’t achieve its intended result, or the process was too frustrating for those involved to consider it a success regardless of the outcome. Some companies ignore these issues and hope the problem works itself out. We tackle them head-on, so our teams can focus on providing our clients with the best experience possible.
However, identifying a need for process improvement is only the first step. Knowing who needs to be involved in order to make the process improvement a success is just as important.
Take for example a recent issue we experienced in our Purchasing department, where purchasing agents became frustrated with our process for requesting samples of raw materials. Too often requests were being sent to the wrong purchasing agent, with key details missing. This resulted in a lot of back-and-forth and delays in getting samples for our clients.
We knew a more streamlined process was necessary. We documented the Current State process, identified the pain points, and then documented a better Future State process. The Future State process included creating an email request template so the request is always sent to the correct email address and includes all required details.
We knew different roles and a mix of subject matter experts (SMEs) were required to develop and implement this new email request template. These roles are important players in any process improvement initiative:
- Process Member—This participant is directly involved with the process execution. The organization depends on them to “get it right.” Their insight into how things work, how it could be improved, and how things should be is invaluable.
- Process Analyst—This participant collects process feedback (pain points) from the Process Members, listens to improvement ideas, connects them to the Current State of the process and puts together a Future State process for recommendation.
- Process Manager—Often a team manager, this person may not execute the process as regularly as the Process Members do, but they are nevertheless responsible for how the process runs and its continuous improvement over time.
- Change Champion—Often an executive within the organization, this person is a leader who pushes for process improvement, helps teams remove barriers to change, and holds management accountable for results.
- Solutionist—This person plays a technical role, often developing the mechanisms and systems needed to implement the new process. They take the new process requirements and materialize them into usable tools.
- Stakeholders—These people are dependent on the process working smoothly and may be responsible for supporting related processes, information, or technologies.
These roles are not always assigned to different people. For the Purchasing process improvement initiative I mentioned earlier, one person was both the Process Analyst and Solutionist. But each role is important and must be engaged or at least informed at some point during an initiative. If one of these roles is overlooked, challenges to process improvement initiatives surface.
For example, without engaging Stakeholders, the implementation of any process improvement will fall short. Without engaging a Solutionist, the good ideas that depend on having a new system or enhanced process won’t materialize, leaving the team thinking, “Whatever happened to that idea?” Without engaging the Process Members, any well-intentioned idea may not get any traction because member buy-in is the key to any initiative. They want to be part of the solution to ensure there is a benefit to their workflow or the company as a whole and understand why changing their actions contribute to the overall organizational success.
Engaging all these roles is the key to any successful Business Process Management or process improvement initiative. We know the more people taking ownership of a process’s success, the more likely Continuous Improvement will be achieved over time and better customer experience we can provide.
Have a BPM experience to share? Leave a comment here.
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