During a recent discussion with a colleague, our conversation turned to the failure in most organizations to consider process integration during the development of processes. For example, what do you think would happen if, when you went to McDonald’s and ordered a cheeseburger, there was no station (or person) to add the cheese to the hamburger? The process would either stop (proactive recognition of the pending failure) or continue until the wrong product had been produced (resulting in a reactive behavior once the customer identified the issue).
The costs associated with proactive recognition are miniscule, and may simply involve the addition of a step to fully integrate separate processes. The costs associated with reactive recognition can be substantial and include rework costs; disruption of process flow and even loss of customer.
Here are the three fundamental steps that need to be considered when any process is being developed, revised or improved upon:
Step 1: Develop in isolation: The best processes are first drafted by those with whom are directly impacted. This ensures that you are starting from the premise of developing a process that suits it’s primary purpose.
Step 2: Gain team input: Once a process has been developed in isolation, it should then be reviewed by all with whom will be impacted, integrating feedback and changes to the extent possible. I worked with one large organization who were known for work groups writing procedures that directly impacted the functions and time of other groups, but issuing the procedure without ever telling the affected group. If you want a process that works and gains buy-in at the outset
Step 3: The 30,000 foot view: The final process review and modification should be performed from a position of oversight, with knowledge of the company objectives and goals. This ensures that impact on other functional groups have been captured and integrated, and any best practices that can be applied to other areas across the organization are recognized.
Developing or modifying a process is not something that should be done in solitude. Applying this 3 step process will ensure changes are effective, and transitions from one group to another are adequately addressed.
© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.
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