6 Guiding Principles For Process Improvement

If you don’t know your goal, you might get lost at sea


When your organization strives for process improvement , you need to be careful not to lose the sight of the big picture; if you don’t know your goal, you could get lost at sea.

There is no magic recipe or secret weapon for achieving process improvement, but if you follow these six guiding principles you will be able to better see your way ahead.

No 1: Don’t start process improvement initiatives just for the sake of it

Process improvement initiatives are a means to reach a goal and must aim to deliver measurable and quantifiable benefits such as lower costs of ownership or the fulfillment of compliance issues. Start with the result and make sure that your stakeholders have a clear goal; otherwise your process improvement initiative will prove a failure. Never forget what you actually want to achieve!

No 2: Focus on people and empower anyone, anytime, anywhere to make your business processes the best in the world

Value your employees’ engagement with the initiative. Processes are designed and experienced by individuals and the people on a project are much more important factors for success than the tools they use. They put all their effort in and work hard to deliver an excellent project. Don’t waste your breath with pointless discussions; choose a feasible strategy for working together effectively. Instead of only focusing on figures, place the emphasis on the emotional factor: people first, because that’s what makes a significant difference between failure and success.

No 3: Start with the low-hanging fruit

Great things start with small beginnings: Focus on quick time-to-value, demonstrate success and establish credibility. This will help you to get off the ground and move toward your larger goal. The best way to do this is to deliver some highly visible successes that can be understood by every stakeholder in the organization. Start with projects within your process improvement initiative that can be completed as quickly as possible and that have a low cost. Choose a process that has high visibility across the organization.

No 4: Make your processes look 'sexy' and spread the news

Persuade your stakeholders that your efforts will aid them in their jobs; they will be much more likely to work with you. To get sufficient support from all stakeholders and decision-makers, you must understand the challenges and objectives they have. Never forget about the power of communication and collaboration; invest time in educating the business people in your company about your process improvement initiative. Inform them about the value it adds to their business and prove that you are not wasting their time.

No 5: Keep your processes healthy

Process governance is king; it is the basis for effective process improvements. Governance mechanisms monitor the health of your process landscape. Without effective governance, you won’t be confident that all compliance issues have been fulfilled. Effective governance enables your process landscape to be in the best of health.

No 6: Keep it short and simple

Do your designed processes remind you of a construction plan for a rocket landing on the moon? Wouldn’t you rather your process be comprehensible, traceable and adoptable? Go back to the drawing board and keep it simple - that will increase the chances that your stakeholders understand it.

If you stick to these six guidelines you will find that not only is your process improvement initiative achievable, it will also be usable, understandable and maintainable for your project team and all stakeholders across the company. Go forward with your goal in sight.

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