What life of a real Process Architect looks like with Christoph Bünker from Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services
#018: You asked for it and here it is: an interview with a real Process Architect! Enjoy! 🚀
In this episode, I’m speaking with Christoph Bünker from Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services. Christoph is not only a Process Architect himself, he actually leads an entire team of eight Process Architects.
Christoph has a long-lasting experience in this area and he is probably the most experienced Process Architect I know of.
When I am talking about the role of a Process Architect, I am talking about the role supporting the Process Owner to design, improve, implement, and steer a process. So if the Process Owner is accountable for all these activities, the Process Architect takes over the responsibility for the execution. You may call this role also Process manager in some organizations, but in the New Process Role Concept it’s the Process Architect.
The episode is so full of exciting insights and you will learn more about what the life of a real Process Architect looks like!
Christoph is Head of the Global Process Management Competence Center Warehouse at Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services in Hamburg since 2016.
Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services is a member of the Lufthansa Group providing logistic solutions for the maintenance, repair and overhaul business.
Before becoming the Head of the Competence Center, Christoph has worked as a Process Architect for Warehousing and Shipping since 2014.
Before joining Lufthansa Group, Christoph studied Information Systems at Technical University of Darmstadt and worked for Otto Group as a Project Manager for Process and System Development in Hamburg.
- What the typical tasks of a Process Architect are
- How Christoph and his team are executing a process life cycle to improve their processes
- How they prioritise the topics to work on
- How they communicate process changes
- How they train the people working in their processes
- How they cooperate with their counterparts at the different locations as well as with IT
- Why and how they apply process mining
- What the qualification requirements of a Process Architect are
- What Christoph’s 3 top tips for new Process Architects are
- Christoph Bünker on LinkedIn
- Website of Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services
- Website of Lufthansa Group
- New Process Role Concept with all the details on the role of a Process Architect
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Please note that the transcript was generated automatically and only slightly adjusted. It does not claim to be a perfect transcription.
Mirko (00:00:00) – Where are the people coming from who are now working as process architects?
Christoph (00:00:03) – To be honest, they’re coming from very different educational backgrounds. And actually, I’m from myself. I don’t care about the educational background, so for me, it’s so, so I’m looking at, at the core competence from post architect. For me, it’s more important that the person has good analytics so that he knows how to put information together. Then we have a lot of interaction with other departments, so it’s very important that the person is a good communicator so that he’s able to communicate on a high level. So on the management level, but also on the shop floor level. But also on the other side is not only be important to be a good talker, but also to be a good listener. Because sometimes it’s that a person is telling you that he wants something, but sometimes it’s that he doesn’t know what he really wants, just thinks he knows it. But when you’re talking about the topic with him and then you’re, then you’re asking the right questions, then you’re getting to know that he wants something totally different.
Mirko (00:01:15) – Yeah. Yeah. Welcome to episode 18 of the New Process podcast. You asked for it, and here it is, an interview with a real process architect. Today’s guest is Christoph Bünker from Lufthansa Technic Logistics Services. Christoph is not only a process architect himself, he actually leads an entire team of eight process architects. When I’m talking about the role of a process architect, I’m talking about the role supporting the process owner to design, improve, implement, and steer a process. So if the process owner is accountable for all these activities, the process architect takes over the responsibility of the execution. So with regards to racy classification, you may also call this role something like a process manager in some organizations. But in the new process, role concept, this role is called the process architect. Yeah, and I’ll put link into the show notes with more information onto the role concept if you’re interested in. So Christo is head of the global Process Management Competence Center Warehouse at Lufthansa Technic Logistics Services in Hamburg. And he’s doing this since 2016. Um, Lufthansa Technical Logistics Services is a member of the Lufthansa group providing logistics solutions for the maintenance, repair, and overhaul business in the, where are the people coming from who are now working as process architects?
Christoph (00:02:49) – Um, to be honest, um, they’re coming from very different, um, yeah, back background, educational backgrounds. And actually, I’m, for myself, I don’t care about the educational background, so for me it’s so, so I’m looking at the core competence from a post architect. So from my point of view, and I’m currently also in a recruiting process, like all the time since I’m the leader of the, of the team, kind of, because we are always, there’s always the mixture of people leaving because they found new opportunities. And also we get more things to do and, uh, new things to do so that we also need more people. And for me, it’s more important that the person has, has the good analytics so that he knows, okay, how to put information together, because there is a lot of information and he needs to be able to evaluate the information, to put it together in the right way, and also to see his information.
Christoph (00:03:39) – Then if you already had seen, we are heard, we have a lot of interaction with other department, so it’s very important that the person’s a good communicator so that he’s able to communicate on a high level, so on the management level, but also on the shop floor level. And also that he’s able to put his information very tightly together so that, that the other person’s able to, to understand what he, what he know what he’s talking about. But also on the other side, it’s not only important to be a good talker, but also to be a good listener. Because sometimes it’s that a person is telling you that he wants something, but sometimes it’s that he doesn’t know what he really wants, just thinks he knows it. But when you’re talking about the topic with, and then you, then you’re asking the right questions, then you’re getting to know that he wants something totally different. Interview
Mirko (00:04:28) – Christo may sometimes use the abbreviation L T L S for Lufthansa Technic logistics services, as well as LH T for Lufthansa Technic. So just keep that in mind. Before becoming the head of the Competent Center, Christoph has worked as pro architect for warehousing and shipping since 2014. Before joining the Lufthansa Group, Christoph studied information systems at the Technical University of Daad, and he worked for the auto group in Hamburg as a project manager for process and system development. So in this episode, you’ll learn more about how the life of a process architect looks like. Christoph will provide detailed insights into the tasks of a process architect and how they are executing the process lifecycle for their processes. So we are covering a lot from process strategy, process improvement, implementation, process trainings, process hearing, and overall coordination. So also, for example, how they cooperate with their counterparts at the different warehouse locations, as well as how they cooperate with the IT department. And he will also provide details on how they apply process mining. And that’s not all . This episode is really full of exciting insights. We’ll also talk about qualification requirements of process architects, and, uh, Christoff will share his top three tips for new process architects.
Mirko (00:06:03) – Yeah, welcome Christo to the new process podcast. I’m super excited to have a real process architect here in this show today. So welcome Christoph.
Christoph (00:06:13) – Thanks Mi. I’m also very excited, to be honest. Yeah, a little bit nervous, but we will see what’s going on, .
Mirko (00:06:20) – Yeah, exactly. Let’s see. So it’s your favorite airline here. You know, you’re an airline guy as well. So let’s start with a check-in. Um, what do you prefer in an aircraft aisle or window seed?
Christoph (00:06:32) – Um, to be honest, I like more of the window seat because I like at least to have the opportunity to, to view out of the window. Also, if I’m not doing it always on all the time, but there’s at least the possibility to look at out of it, and that’s very important for me. Yeah,
Mirko (00:06:47) – That’s, that’s good. That’s good. And, and what is your favorite airport?
Christoph (00:06:52) – Oh, favorite airport. Um, when I’m thinking about it, so directly, my mind actually comes to Mun Munich. Also, I’m from Hamburg, but I like the airport in Munich very much because for me it’s very well organized, structured, and also very clean. And what I also like very much at the airport in Munus that the security control is always very fast, and for me it’s also running very smoothly all the time. So I’ve never been there waiting for like in Hamburg on Frankfurt, like half an hour just to go to the security control. There’s more very soon, and that’s very, very happy for me. Yeah,
Mirko (00:07:28) – That’s true. I also prefer Munich compared to the other hubs. . Very good. Okay. And, um, what was the best process you have ever experienced? Maybe this is not the security .
Christoph (00:07:45) – Yeah, but actually, actually it comes to me for, for, for the best process. For, for me, the, the best process, this process, which runs, runs very smoothly. And there are not a lot of interruptions or no interruptions. That’s best process. And when I’m thinking about it actually, like, yeah, in Munich, the security control is running very smoothly, as I said, so, and wherever you can feel that there’s the flow in it and that you don’t get stuck, then, then this is the kind of a good process. But there’s not this one single process which pops into my mind where I’m saying, yeah, okay, this is the best process I ever experienced. So to, to be honest. So like if I’m coming, like when you’re talking about fluent processes, it’s also when you’re going now to the, to one of this burger restaurants where you can, doing the self order. For me, this is also kind of of very smoothly because you can order by yourself and then you just wait. Yeah, there you have some waiting time, but, but yeah, they have to prepare some meal, but still it’s very fluently that you order then just wait, and then you get your meal and you know what to do and you, you just follow the process and it’s working.
Mirko (00:08:47) – Yeah, yeah, that’s true. I thought you were going to answer your own process. It’s the best one you’ve ever experienced.
Christoph (00:08:53) – No, I never would do this. ,
Mirko (00:08:55) – .
Christoph (00:08:56) – That’s not my personality. .
Mirko (00:09:01) – Very good. So let’s get closer to the topic of processes and how would you describe your own relationship to processes?
Christoph (00:09:09) – Um, my relationships you can have relationship to, that’s interesting actually, . So from my point of view, it’s that I’m, within my working experience, I’m very much linked to processes all the time. So also when I started working, uh, to the auto group, so they also started working in processes, thinking about processes and also about processes, like flow of things, flow of information, and also like, yeah, what are people doing there within the process? So this is the things which yeah, followed me all the time during my work life after auto also looked the technique, uh, logistic services. So there also was every time linked to this process stuff. And for me, it’s very interesting just to make this transparency so way I can see, okay, yeah, they have the process and as I said, how’s the thing flowing or the material flowing now within our logistics? And also how is all the information flowing and how this ed by the people so that they know what they have to do. So they’ve, yeah, they’ve accompanied me my whole work life, so I must like them somehow, otherwise I wouldn’t work with them so much So, so long
Mirko (00:10:21) – That’s, that’s true. And as I already said, um, your process architect, I would say you are one of the most experienced process architects I know of. And, uh, you actually had the process management competence center for the warehouse processes of Lufthansa technic logistics services, and you lead eight process architects in your team. So you are not process architect just alone. You have a whole team of process architects. How, how does your setup look like within the team? Uh, what is your process, the process owner, the architect? Can you elaborate a little bit more on that?
Christoph (00:11:00) – Um, yeah, actually to, to understand the setup, I would just start to first to understand, okay, what’s actually the LTLs doing? So how are we working, how are we within the framework? So what are our process is for, because what we are doing, we are the logistics provider for the lht and also for the lift on the airlines. So in concerns of aircraft material. So you can think of, okay, if there’s maybe one airplane and you want to fly with it, and they’re saying, yeah, okay, we have to wait because we have some, some damage on some parts. They never would say this, but when they’re saying, yeah, we just have to wait and check the airplane. So when the mechanic is waiting for the material to get, to be able to repair the airplane. So then the, we as L T L S, we are the ones who are bringing the material to the airplane of the LH Airlines.
Christoph (00:11:44) – And also in the other parts for the lht, it’s more that they are repairing air aircraft parts within their workshops and we are the ones then bringing the material to the mechanic there so that he can repair this aircraft parts and out of this. Yeah, as you know, we have airports all over over Germany. So where we are located, where also za uh, airlines are working. And so also the LTLs have different locations within Germany and also all over the world where we are fulfilling and doing all logistics stuff, stuff. So, and just to be able to make, make it to ensure that we have, um, standard processes within all these organizations when within the lts there was created a competent center warehouse, which is then responsible for all the processes which are run in the warehouse. So, and also my boss, he’s head of this competence center warehouse, and he’s also the process owner of all the processes now linked within the warehouse.
Christoph (00:12:41) – So in total, I think what, what he’s telling all the time is more, it’s more like 140 or uh, a number like this processes where he is currently the process owner and also, uh, so it’s quite a huge amount of processes where he is doing fulfilling this role. And that’s also why we as a process architect are doing quite a lot of stuff. And the process architects are coming out of my team. So my team is then responsible for this ML logistics, and we have a neighbor team of my colleague and they are responsible for this airline logistics. So they are describing the process for this airline logistics. So there are also some process architects in in her team, and we are dividing up this description of the all the warehouse processes. And due to the fact, as it says that our process owner has such a huge amount of processes, our process architects are really the ones who are driving the processes and who are really within the process and also developing them further and looking into a lot of details there.
Christoph (00:13:39) – So that’s the way how we are doing it and where they are taking over some things where normally the process owner should come in, but there’s no possibility for our boss to do, to be able to do this. That’s also why we are now thinking about, uh, restructuring this and to start to hand over some processes to some members of our teams where we are also starting to, to bring in a new role where we have now currently this process architect roles just within our team, and then we have a new role of one person who is more like, yeah, than the, this person’s the design responsible, for example, for the inbound area, for the warehouse processes. But this is currently just within the start where we are thinking about, okay, how can we make it a little bit smoother and also get some work from our, what’s done by other people so that there’s also that we are the process owner really able to do this and really knows what’s happening in the process in detail more so we have process owner, process architect within our teams.
Christoph (00:14:38) – And on the other side we have also within the different branches said within lts, we have branches in Hamburg, in Frankfurt, in Munich, in ER and Cologne, disor . So there we have people who are then named the process managers who are then representing the needs of the branches. So they are telling, we have a close corporation with them together so that we know, okay, the people are from the branches are telling us, okay, what’s working within the branches? What’s, what’s possible there? What are the people who are working there within the process? What are they capable of doing? And we are coming from the general side where we are thinking about, okay, what does the customer want? What does the legal department want? What, what do we need from the process side? What, what requirements do we have there? So that we would then within the collaboration, we elaborate the processes together and we also make them better in the future. So we together design the processes and we also together improve the processes.
Mirko (00:15:41) – Okay. With regards
Christoph (00:15:42) – Biggest setup too.
Mirko (00:15:44) – Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Perfect. That’s, uh, super interesting. Uh, good to understand. Uh, good to know for, um, the understanding to understand the background as well, . Um, so with regards to the role of the process architects mm-hmm. , um, what are the major tasks there of your employees?
Christoph (00:16:03) – So for the process architects, as I said, he’s the person who needs to know the requirements for the process. And this is, are the different requirements just out of the legal departments, out of the customers so that he knows what does this proman need to be to be fulfilled, uh, what in the end of the process, what needs to be done, what’s, what needs to be the, uh, the result of the process mm-hmm. not only the physical result, but also within the IT systems. Because if we are coming to logistics, the processes and the IT systems are very tightly linked together. And also as we are very linked, tightly linked with our customers, for example, with the lht, with also our process architects need to know key, not only okay, physically. Now the, for example, the material has to be packed and it has to be shipped out, but we also need to know key, which informations do we need to send back to the lht so that they know within their systems also the status of the process, so that they also have the transparency, okay, yeah, this process is not finished and we have all the information which we need to be able to, to fulfill the needs of our customer.
Christoph (00:17:07) – So it’s a really linked and combined system where you need to know quite a lot of things, not only the process, how it’s done on the, on the physical work floor or on the shop floor, but also to know, okay, what’s in the background behind it and how is the linkage with the other processes. We have connection with your own process. And there comes the complexity in, and this is also when we are talking about complexity. So normally we are thinking about complexity, it’s more like, yeah, on the one hand it’s the process itself. So like when you’re talking about, okay, how many steps do you have within the process, how many different decisions do you have within the process? Then the second complexity comes out okay, with how many people do you have to interact? So how many different roles are working in your process and how many different people from, from like how many different branches are fulfilling the process?
Christoph (00:17:52) – So this is also something where our process architects are talking with the different branches and they’re talking with them over, okay, does this process fit for you? As I said, they interaction with the process managers to also align that the process is fitting for everyone kind of, and that on there also being able to fulfill this process and to yet to that the people are being able to fulfill, fulfill this process. And the third complexity is then okay with how much other processes does this process interact? For example, if we are coming to a shipping process, um, then yeah, you have the shipping where telling, okay, yeah, we have to pack the material, but you also have a connection, for example, to all the export control stuff, to all the custom stuff where need to assure that you are also fulfilling this legal processes. And there you have a linkage of care.
Christoph (00:18:40) – How do you send information over what information do they need and how do they intend act there? And this is also this something what the process architect needs to be aware of or needs to assure that this linkage is still fitting when he changes something within the process. That’s kind of the roles from being yeah, the master of his process and also to know, okay, where’s the link map my process link to other processes, what do they know, need to know? And also on the other side, what do I need from the other processes to be able to fulfill my process in detail in total. Okay. Our process architects are on this global level and on the shop floor level there comes to the process manager.
Mirko (00:19:20) – Yeah. Okay. Before we go into the details, how you incorporate with the process managers, how do you proceed in, in general to improve your processes? So more with regards to the yearly schedule, how do you prioritize the topics and so on?
Christoph (00:19:38) – That’s tough question because for us, if you’re talking about improvement of the process, there’s a lot of stakeholders who are interested in improving the processes. So on the one side, there is the operational department who is working with the processes and the people who are working within the process, they always have ideas, okay, how to make the process smoother, smoother, because they also experience where are the interruptions. So they have also ideas where they can say, okay, yeah, this doesn’t work smoothly, so then we need to change something. So there come people then with ideas where they’re saying, yeah, there we need to change something, this is, has to be done differently. Then on the other side, you have the customer who has ideas where he wants to change something because you have new ideas, he has new customer requirements from his customers, so needs to be fulfilled by the process.
Christoph (00:20:23) – So also they are coming out some requirements. Then there could be some changes within the legal departments where all you also get some requirements out of there. And on the other side, we also think about digitalization. So, so we also out of our team are thinking about, okay, how can we make the process better? How can we improve it? Just also with ideas, which we get from, for example, um, from, from other companies where we have been looking into, okay, how are they are doing their processes mm-hmm. , so that we from ourselves are thinking, okay, how can we make it smooth, more smoothly? So in all these different ideas are then coming together and we have to think about, okay, with which topic do we now start? And this is actually currently the hard part because you have to tell someone, okay, yeah, I’m sorry, you have a nice idea, but in comparison with the others ideas, it doesn’t have such a big impact.
Christoph (00:21:14) – So yeah, you have to wait a little bit. And this is, as I said, the tough part. And now we also, after the Corona crisis, we start to set up a framework like we had before the already started, but not really, uh, really build it up. So then the idea is that we have, um, a framework where we are saying, okay, we have a meeting together with the board leaders of our company. So where we are aligning the company’s goals with the warehouse goals so that we know, okay, what are the warehouse goals for this year? So what are the topics which really, really want to focus on so that we have there an alignment on this level. So out of this, we are doing a meeting together with our, with the leaders of the different op operational areas, like the leader of the inbound sections.
Christoph (00:22:00) – So we bring all inbound leaders together, we bring all leaders of the shipping areas together. So there we are talking over, okay, this is now the, the common warehouse goals, the warehouse goals for this year. So on which topics do we need to focus? Which topics are there from your side, which topics are there from the customer side, which topics do we want to proceed on for this year so that we also there have a common strategy and alignment. Okay, on which topics do we want to focus? Because by this we focus our common strengths. So like our central strengths out of the process department, and also the strengths of the, of locations, uh, the process manager together on focus, nk, which, which topic do we want to tackle this time? And not everyone is just going on its own, but we have a common view on it.
Christoph (00:22:41) – And the last portion is that we also have a bi-week limiting then with the process manager side, so the production engineers of the operational area where we are then bi-weekly, talking about really the topics which are coming around and really the topics we are currently facing. And this can be small topics we are talking about, okay, we have this idea out, this improvement idea out of the operations in Munich is this is also an idea which we can use for Hamburg, does it fit together? And this is something how we now want to start this framework to just to make sure that we have a common picture on what we want to work on and also have a common prioritization.
Mirko (00:23:18) – Okay.
Christoph (00:23:18) – Hopefully it’ll work.
Mirko (00:23:20) – Yeah, it sounds like a good approach and there is a lot of coordinating and aligning all the activities. Uh, yes. One of the tasks for, for the architects
Christoph (00:23:29) – Then, and we are also doing this because we have experience. So like within this Corona crisis, at least the thunder was a little bit harder struck by it. So also for us it was more like that the different areas also started to think about, okay, how can we improve on our own? And they’re also, the communication ran a bit down. So it’s more like that everyone was looking for himself, okay, how are we going to to make things better? And now we want to, again, to start the co communication and to start the cooperation to have one common alignment there. Okay. And that’s very important for us.
Mirko (00:23:59) – And as soon as you have agreed up on a topic you would like to implement, how do you then proceed?
Christoph (00:24:06) – Um, it’s always depending on the size of the topic. So if it’s just a small, small topic, then we just, um, yeah, we are thinking about, okay, how, how do we want to do it in the future? Just to, to design an idea about it, to, to make a concept about it. How should it be done in the future? Then we are, if there needs to be something done within the IT department, then we are talking also over with the IT department and putting it into the IT systems and then just doing the change. And if it’s a bigger change, so like the way you have a lot of effort in and the, you need a project, then we are starting starting a project within our company where we are thinking also thinking about who is the project manager, can it be the person of our team who is then in a kind of a double role as the person who is driving the improvement and also the project manager or is better to have a separate project manager who is then just running the PRO project and we can focus on improving the process and designing the functionality which we need there and DES design, uh, focusing on the functional part more.
Christoph (00:25:09) – So this is always depending on the size of the, of the change which we have there.
Mirko (00:25:15) – Mm-hmm. . Okay. And with regards to implementation, are you also designing trainings or things like that to Yeah. Inform the employees or enable them to execute the new process then at the end mm-hmm. ?
Christoph (00:25:30) – Um, actually we are, we currently have taken over also the role for the standard trainings of our process and IT systems. So like for each new person who is coming into the company, so we are then doing the trainings currently. Cause area have experience is very important for us to do the trainings. Before it was done by an external department. And then there we realized, yeah, they are informing about how to run within the, to do the work within the systems, but they don’t get the information about the background. Okay, why is it very important to do this stuff? So why is it very important to stick to this process? What’s, what’s, what’s behind it? And re-experience that. It’s much more helpful for the people that they know not only what to do, but why to do it. So why is it important to press this button and what is going to do with this information?
Christoph (00:26:18) – So, and then that’s why we have taken over the training and total for, for, for the new people. And also of this, if we are running a project, they’re also, it’s depending on the size of the changes I said before. So if it’s really training is needed, then yeah, we can, we will take over the training there. If it’s just a small change, then also it’s more like that we are putting out some information sheets, for example. So an information sheet, which we are then, uh, um, sending over to the process manager and who is then informing the operational people within their shop floor meetings. So in the shop floor meetings, uh, each day, so they’re there, get the information for all the people. Okay, what, what is not different, what has now differently to be done? What we also tried out and was, was also very well accepted by the people we started to make, for example, as I said, with very much it related on our side.
Christoph (00:27:13) – So we started to make, for example, a training video. So where we showed, okay, how do we need to proceed in this, uh, house new procedure to be, to be fulfilled? And we shared this, uh, video then with every person working in the operations, working in this specific area where he needs to do this stuff. So this is also very much appreciated because they, they said, okay, it was very good and helpful because you could look into this video and also later when you’re in your work and when you, okay, yeah, there’s something which I have forgotten. Then they could again look into the video, just skip to this, uh, to the time where, where this topic came up and look directly into the key. Yeah, how was it done, what was now the training, what is now the training saying what, what’s to do there? But this is also much more effort just to do this training video as you might understand. And so we we’re just thinking about, okay, depending on the size on the impact of the change, we are, uh, taking the appropriate medium media to inform the people and to train the people.
Mirko (00:28:14) – Okay. And talking about process trainings, uh, just reminds me of, um, the episode on gamification, which I published two weeks ago. Uh, have you already thought about, uh, gamifying, uh, the, the training process there or the, the trainings in a way like, um, the people are really going to play a role play, for example, to experience how the logistics processes look like, how to perform these activities?
Christoph (00:28:41) – To be honest, not yet. And I’ve just, uh, I think it was today when I was, uh, skipping to my LinkedIn contact, I saw also this, this podcast about ation. I thought, oh, this might be interesting. And I haven’t, I haven’t not yet found the time to, to listen to it, but I will definitely do it and see what’s in there. Because also from my point of view, it’s very important to have pictures for the people. So like when we are talking within our one, one meeting last time, so we, we have, for example, we have the receiving area within our warehouse, and the receiving area is a very important part because there our people are also checking the certificates. So if this, um, material which is coming over has a correct certificate and is being able to put into an aircraft, so from reminder point of view, um, when, when, when, when I’m talking about pictures, I always come up, I’m, I don’t actually know the English word.
Christoph (00:29:33) – I came up with this picture of a turk at, at a disco mm-hmm. . So the person was there standing in front and saying, yeah, okay, you get in and you get out because this is a picture where the people, people can, can relate to. I hope so. So that then, okay, they are the people within the receiving air who are saying, okay, this material is good, so you can come in and this material, no, you don’t fit with us, so there is something wrong with you. So you go out and just stay out because otherwise we get problems. So this is, I think, very important just also to play with pictures and to talk with pictures because they get the emotions and then it’s easier for the people to, to think about it and to, yeah. That it’s staying in their mind.
Mirko (00:30:10) – Yeah, absolutely. And I, I, I can already pick that up because then the people really understand what they, they contribute to the process. Yes. And to the, to the purpose as well. So make sure that only the right parts get into the system and the others stay out. And that’s way more emotional than just, uh, checking if the documentation and the parts are okay or
Christoph (00:30:32) – Yes. And this is only the thing what you are doing, and, but you don’t know why you are doing it. And it’s very important that you’re talking also about why you are doing it. This is also what I said why we took over the trainings because they, we can also tell the people why they’re doing it and if they know why they’re doing it, they are doing the work better in a better way.
Mirko (00:30:50) – Yeah. Uh, that’s cool.
Christoph (00:30:55) – To your topic, topic, . Yeah,
Mirko (00:30:56) – Absolutely. I’m super excited about the idea of gamification there and, uh, yeah. But, but let’s, let’s get back, uh, to, uh, your work as a process architect, uh, with regards to the lifecycle. So after training, the people implementing the process, um, what are you doing to steer the process execution? Is that also on your list as well, to have an overview of what is going on at the different locations and how do you interact with the locations plan?
Christoph (00:31:22) – Um, the steering part is now slowly coming into our, uh, into our windows, so into our part of there where we are responsible. So up to now just dismiss that the location itself is responsible so that the process is fulfilled, that the people are working it in the right way. So, and up to an hour. Also, from my point of view, we, there’s, we don’t have the right tool to be able to track, okay, if the process are fulfilled out in the right way. So, but now we started to look into this big field or huge field of process mining, um, and then we started to find a tool for us where we can say, okay, yeah, this tool will help our, at least we are, we are sure we have the big, big idea, the trust in it, that it’ll help us to, to find a way if the processes are fulfilled in the right way.
Christoph (00:32:14) – So because with this process, um, mining, they can see, you can define, okay, within this process we need this timestamps to be fulfilled in this order. So if then if you are putting then this data into this process mining tool, then you can realize, okay, yeah, 50% of this process is I’m missing one timestamp. And then you can realize, okay, why is this timestamp missing? And then you can start to talk with the people, why is this timestamp missing? And this thing is also bringing us to the next level because what are we doing up to now? So it’s up to now, it’s like that the process managers, they are within their locations and looking, okay, how’s the process fulfilled? Do they experience something? And also, we sometimes are visiting the, the branches and looking, okay, how’s the process fulfills everything done correctly? But if there’s a person looking at it, normally the worker is doing it in other way.
Christoph (00:33:03) – Then if he is, if there’s no one looking at it. And also there, there’s no offense to it, but, but he has just more that he’s more, uh, focused on the work because he knows there’s someone looking and it’s not like, okay, he, it’s not the fifth time that he’s doing the same stuff. No, now someone is looking so he pays more attention to it. So if he’s not doing this then, and if we are just looking at this pure data, then you get much more information out of it. Then you also can say, okay, yeah, there we are missing something. So why is this missing? Then you can realize, okay, this is the process topic or it more that people don’t, just don’t do the step why whatsoever. But then you can start talking about it. And this is also where we want to start with this tool to make this possible for us to also to create KPIs about the qualities of the processes that the process are fulfilled in the right way.
Christoph (00:33:50) – And we already have started, and this year was two processes where we started to think about KPIs just to get the timestamps out of the systems. But it’s was very hard to, to get the data then to put it into Excel to do the analysis and stuff like this. And that’s why I’m hoping that with this process mining tool, it’s much easier, much faster, and we can also put it just on board so that everyone can just look it up daily. Cause the other way it just was just done weekly because you needed to do something with excellent. Yeah, you cannot do this daily in the work currently.
Mirko (00:34:27) – Yeah. That, that’s good to hear that you are already using process mining because this is one of the, i I would say higher maturity level features to use. As soon as you really understand your process and you work on it, I, I definitely see the benefit of, uh, mining the processes and to, to get ideas on, on the performance on the one hand side as well as ideas for improvement on the other side. And then you still have to implement that. But, uh, do you already have experience with, uh, implementing changes based on the learnings of, uh, process mining or using this for automation systems? Not
Christoph (00:34:58) – Implementing, but, but we have started this process mining for our branches within the us and there we had the experience that we, that we put up this, this, as I said, uh, which timestamps do we want there? Which timestamps do, and which order do we want them them to have there? And there we already could find the experience that we, I realized, okay, yeah, for this branch, this timestamp was always missing. Why is it like that? Then we talked it over with the people there from the branch and there comes out, okay, yeah, for this branch, just this timestamp is not applicable. And that’s totally okay also for us from, from a global perspective that the way saying, okay, yeah, you don’t, we don’t need this timestamp out of this branch. And then the good thing is that within the tool, you can say, okay, if this process is coming out of this branch, then it’s totally okay if this time stamp is missing and it’s not putting an error anymore.
Christoph (00:35:44) – It’s saying, okay, yeah, no, the process is now accurate. And that’s very, very cool and very, very important as I said, that we could, uh, already have experienced this first glances about, okay, well what’s going on there? And the first, actually the first connection was this process mining tool was even before the Corona crisis when we had an improvement idea where another department wanted to improve the process, and then they also used the process mining tool, and then they realized, okay, yeah, that’s interesting because out of the data, they realized there was, there were some, um, some sometimes that it was like that one driver was kind of driving in a circle with the material. So he was speaking on the one part, then driving in the circle, putting it there, then driving again, and then one other per person was picking it up into this part and putting it again where the person first picked it up. So that realized, okay, they, they created some, some kind of a circle and out of this we could make the improvement just to get rid of the circle and to make it in a different way so that it was running smoothly. Yeah. And that’s also an idea where it said, okay, there must be worried within the data if we elaborated this on a bigger surface, on a bigger level, and also with different processes.
Mirko (00:36:59) – Okay. That leads me to a completely different question with regards to the profile of a pro architect, which, uh, educational background, uh, I, I know you are in information system guy as well, same as I am, but, uh, in your team, are these all somehow IT related, uh, profiles or where are the people coming from who are now working as process architects?
Christoph (00:37:25) – Um, to be honest, um, they’re coming from very different, um, yeah, back background, educational backgrounds. And actually I’m, for myself, I don’t care about the educational background. So for me it’s, so, so I’m looking at, at the core competence from a post architect. So from my point of view, and I’m currently also in a recruiting process, like all the time since I’m the leader of the, of the team, kind of, because we are always, there’s always a mixture of people leaving because they found new opportunities. And also we get more things to do and uh, new things to do so that we also need more people. And for me, it’s more important that the person has, has the good analytics so that he knows, okay, how to put information together because there is a lot of information and he needs to be able to evaluate the information, to put it together in the right way, and also to see his information.
Christoph (00:38:15) – Then if you already had seen, we are heard, we have a lot of interaction with other department, so it’s very important that the person’s a good communicator so that he’s able to communicate on a high level, so on the management level, but also on the shop floor level. And also that he’s able to put his information very tightly together so that, that the other person’s able to, to understand what he, what he knows what he’s talking about. But also on the other side, it’s not only important to be a good talker, but also to be a good listener. Because sometimes it’s that a person is telling you that he wants something, but sometimes it’s that he doesn’t know what he really wants, just thinks he knows it. But when you’re talking about the topic with, and then you, then you’re asking the right questions, then you’re getting to know that he wants something totally different, and then you can elaborate this together.
Christoph (00:39:05) – But for this, it’s very important that you are a good listener, listen closely to what the person’s talking about, and they are realizing, I’m always comparing it with, you get a big, big portion of meat, but you don’t know what, what does this person want out of this meat? So does it want the steak, does it want the burger or whatsoever? And this is something that you need to elaborate and with just good listening and good talking with the person. So that’s, that’s the second part, which I think is very important there. And actually this are the most important parts to be honest.
Mirko (00:39:39) – Okay.
Christoph (00:39:39) – And it, it knowledge helps. Yes. Because as I said, it’s very much linked to it, but when you’re bringing the other two things, you can also work with out IT knowledge or IT background.
Mirko (00:39:51) – Yeah. Okay. So you are not the ones, um, really, uh, working on the IT systems, you’re talking to the IT guys working on, uh, the development of the applications and how do you interact with it,
Christoph (00:40:05) – Um, from us? So we are, we have this role as functional, responsible for the IT systems of the warehouse. So we are the ones who are designing the processes for the IT systems, and we are also putting the requirements for the IT systems systems. So each requirements, for example, which is going to our warehouse system, we’ve at the look at it from a functional side. So when we look into it and thinking about, okay, does this fit to the way how we want our system to be developed in the future from a functional side, does this fit to our overall strategy? And if we say, okay, yeah, this is fitting, then we are handing it over to our IT colleagues and talking also the topic, always them. And together we are then creating the solutions, okay, where we are saying, here, we functionally need this, can, are we able to do this out of the system?
Christoph (00:40:52) – What, what could be the good solution? And then we are talking together, okay, what could be a good solution for this functional requirement? Because sometimes it’s that you have a requirement and then you realize, okay, yeah, we are using standard sap and standard SAP is not able to do this, but we could do it in a different way. And then you are together finding a good solution normally. But with there, we have a very, very close relationship, A lot of meetings, also regular meetings together where we are talking about how we want to develop it, the IP systems in the further way and how we want to use them.
Mirko (00:41:23) – Okay, cool. That’s good to know because that’s often a question who is driving the development? Is it based on the activities of the IT or of the business or the process guys? And that’s why I, I think it’s really important to work as close as possible together.
Christoph (00:41:39) – Yes. And I think also I, I totally believe that, that you’re driving the business from bro both sides because we have good ideas, but also our, IT guys have good ideas. So not like also to today they experience that, for example, the users have always questions about this or this topic or that they realize, okay, we have a lot of tickets concerning this specific topic. We need to do something there. We need to change something there. So this is also very good implement. Then they also have good ideas when, when we’re thinking about, okay, how can we change it? So, and also love to talk with our IT guys because they said they’re clever guys and we have really good ideas. And sometimes it’s right like that. I’m saying, okay, I understand the problem of the user, I have no clue what to do. And then I’m talking over with some guys in there and they’re saying, yeah, that’s cool. Let’s do like this.
Mirko (00:42:21) – Yeah. Cool. That’s, that’s perfect. Okay, so we already covered a lot. Um, what will, what you say, what are your three top tips for new process architects?
Christoph (00:42:36) – Mm, so for a new process architect at the start. So when, when you start your work, you really need get to know your processes. So that’s also what we are doing for people who are now, who are starting within our team. It’s very important that they work within the pro the processes they are responsible for. So that’s also why we are sending our, our people then not only to one branch where they get to know to the process, but also the different branches because there could be slight differences. So that’s very important. And also when you are on the other branch, then you also, uh, build up your network so that you also know the people from the other branches and get to know the people you need to talk to when you have some questions for the other branches. So, and during this work, within this process, it’s very important that you are listening to the people you are working who are working then in the process that you really didn’t understand what are their problems, what is good for them, so what, how are they really working within the process, what helps them that you also get to know the attitude of the people who are working within the process.
Christoph (00:43:37) – What, what kind of people are this? Because they also have different people with different backgrounds. And also within our processes, we have also different how you, what you call it, uh, so, um, processes for more educated people and processes for lower, where you need lower qualification, lower educations mm-hmm. . And it’s, I think we’re also very important that, you know, okay, what can I expect from the people working within the processes? What are they capable of? And there’s no offense on this, but, but it’s like that you need to know, okay, yeah, I’m just paying this amount of money from the company side, so I can just expect this, this from the people that they are capable of this. And I think it’s very important that, you know, within your processes. Okay, what are the people capable of working with within the president? Do you understand the, your process, um, by depart?
Christoph (00:44:26) – Um, this would be the first, but it was actually quite a long topic. Um, the second tip would be that you always need to stay curious and make sure that you really understand the problem, as I said before, yeah, it’s not always that the person telling you something knows really has problem. So that’s why you need to get to know to it and need to listen to it and need to talk about it. And also don’t rush for the solution. Take your time, understand the problem, because otherwise you solve the wrong problem and that doesn’t help anyone. And that’s why it’s also very important to stay curious because then you’re always asking good questions and there are no wrong questions. And also for me, also, I’m now, I think I’m 10 years within this company, and I think it’s now eight years working within the process department. I also learned something new about process, which I haven’t even haven’t experienced unknown before. So you always get, get to know new stuff. Yeah.
Christoph (00:45:26) – And the last tip would be, as I said in the beginning, that you need to make sure that you at least have a rough understanding about the end to end process in a total that you don’t only look at your portion of the process, but have a big picture said that you need to know why, what’s, what’s within my process, why, what is my process for, so why, why do does the company need my process that you understand the big picture of everything? Because otherwise it’s, you could just do something for your process, but in the total picture it’s something very bad, which could improve your pro process. But, but as I said in the total picture, it’s, it’s more badly than for, for, for the hill end-to-end process. And that’s why you need to have an understanding of the end-to-end process and how, what’s, uh, the portion of your process within this end-to-end process. Cool. The last tip?
Mirko (00:46:19) – Yeah. Cool. Thank you very much for these, uh, three tips. And that’s super interesting. And, uh, I, I really love the role of the process architect. For me, that’s the driver of, uh, improving the process, pushing that ahead and, um, making really sure that the process can be executed in the reality by the employees in a very good way. And, um, this is also the topic. I’m talking a lot about how to inspire the people for process and how to rethink process to get to more human centered, um, BPM approach, as you know. And to wrap it up, what is your key message to our listeners to rethink processes?
Christoph (00:47:04) – From my point of view is that you need to keep track of the whole system within your process. So for me, the whole system of your process is like, yeah, to keep track of what are the requirements for my process, what are the systems doing, which are supporting my process, and also what are the people doing within my process? Just that you need to align the whole system and not just focus on one thing.
Mirko (00:47:27) – Okay. That’s good. Yeah. Cool. Is there anything we have missed with regards to the life of a process architect, which you would like to share with our listeners?
Christoph (00:47:40) – Sometimes it’s a hard life because as you said, uh, you kind of are the driver of the improvement of the processes, but it’s at least what we experience is also that it then comes to the topic that, that you are included in kind of a lot of topics. So like that for example, that one person of my team is included in three different projects, but just with a smaller portion because it’s, she’s not working 100% for the project, but just putting also her expertise within this project and that you need to know, okay, yeah, I’m working with within this project with 20% within another project within 20%, then I also have myro picks and just to handle everything together. And that’s always hard to be honest and always, yeah, really topic where you need to need to be capable of this doing this. Um, but it’s also very interesting because each day is differently.
Christoph (00:48:38) – So someone is asking me, okay, what are you going to, how is how the normal day, like of, of a process architect? I would say, I cannot tell you because there is no normal day life. You could experience everything like from a telephone call, from one person just asking about something, a topic from process that we need, just some information. And on the other side, you could be sitting in, uh, out of a project in a room together with 20, uh, with 10 other people design, designing new processes on the whiteboard. So, and there’s this whole bunch between everything be between this and just to put this to, to keep this strings together. That’s actually kind of the hardest works from my point of view.
Mirko (00:49:17) – Yeah, that’s true. I remember because I was working as a process architect in the past as well, and I, I really love, um, the different aspects of this role and, um, there’s a lot of fun doing that for sure. That’s true. So, so cool. Um, where can our listeners go to, if they would like to learn more about what you are doing in your role as a process architect or as your team, is there a way to get into contact with you?
Christoph (00:49:45) – Just feel free to contact me while LinkedIn there. You can, I think you’re putting this on LinkedIn, so there’s also my, I’m also there. Just go to my profile, send me a message and we can start the con, uh, to start the contact.
Mirko (00:49:59) – That’s straightforward. Very good. Yeah. Cool. And, um, and to sum it up, because we, we already landed, uh, this episode. Yeah, that’s, that’s cool. We, we covered all the topics, uh, which I wanted to talk about. Uh, so thank you very much for that. But, um, looking into the future, is there anything like a topic, a method, a tool, an expert that, uh, you would recommend to having a closer look at, um, to have more ideas or to get more ideas on how to rethink processes?
Christoph (00:50:32) – From my point of view, it’s actually this topic of process mining mm-hmm. , because, um, they get, uh, we create so much data within our processes with timestamps and everything, but currently, and we are not capable of evaluating this stuff in which this process manage tool, you are able to evaluate this numbers in this data, and then you get much more information, new information, which you would never have thought about or even seen before from my point of view. So I would definitely tell you, just try this out, go into this, look what your numbers are telling you or what your data’s telling you.
Mirko (00:51:11) – Yeah, that’s, that’s a good idea. So maybe it was one of the next episodes we go into deep dive into process mining. That’s, that’s a good idea. Thank you much for that recommendation. Cool. Um, so before we leave the aircraft, um, how would you describe our flight experience with just three words?
Christoph (00:51:34) – Interesting. Actually, I don’t know the English word, but
Mirko (00:51:38) – Yeah. Okay. I looked that up later on. I don’t know.
Christoph (00:51:43) – And I enjoyed it.
Mirko (00:51:44) – Yeah, cool. Me too. It was, uh, super fascinating to review all the activities of the role of the process architect. So thank you so much Christo, for providing all these insights for being my guest here on the New Process podcast and looking forward to interacting with you in the future as well. So thank you much. Have a great day. Bye-bye.
Christoph (00:52:05) – Bye-bye.
Speaker 2 (00:52:07) – Let’s recap today’s new process. Inspiration, inspiration. Inspiration.
Mirko (00:52:11) – Yeah. What a flight was, Christoph. And, um, yeah, I, I promised to look it up. So he described the flight with three words, which were interesting which means diverting or entertaining, and he enjoyed it. And, um, yeah, I also really enjoyed this conversation and I’m so happy to provide all these insights to you. And I’m, I’m hoping that you also enjoyed the conversation with Christo here. As I already said, the role of the process architect is part of the new process, role concept, which I’m using at newprocesslab.com. And, uh, the concept was developed in a joint research project of Lufthansa and University of Bamba Bombak. So all the research papers are publicly available, and I’ll put the link into the show notes as well. So when we started to implement the concept at Luft Hanza, these people, which are now so today known as process architects, were completely invisible.
Mirko (00:53:16) – So for sure, some of these real experts were known, but, um, the work was often not seen. But in the meantime, real positions, full-time equivalence, uh, or even organizational units of process architects were established. And this is so crazy to see how this developed and how this role was implemented in, in the organization. And I see it coming up in other organizations as well. So for me, the role of the process architect is key to the success of the implementation of a BPM framework in an organization. And I would really say that I love process architects. So thank you for listening to this episode to provide you an outlook. Um, there is another tool episode coming up as well as an episode on process strategy. And after following Christo’s recommendation here, I’ll also try to get real Process mining expert on New Process podcast. So let’s see. Thank you very much for listening. Bye-bye.
Mirko (00:54:39) – Okay. Before you leave, if you are a process architect and would like to learn how to start rethinking your process, I can recommend using the new process checklist, which you can download for free by going to new processlab.com/checklist. So just try it out and start rethinking your process. Have a great day. Bye.