We enable people for process management and create the basis for excellent processes by implementing the process management fundamentals.
Before we can even start thinking about New Process, it is necessary to sensitize the people working in and – maybe – on the process for the existence of processes. This may sound stupid, but often people are not aware of the existence of processes at all.
Thus, it is the first challenge to inspire people and to enable them for process management. To do this, we have to act as role models and implement the process management basics as foundation for excellent processes by taking the other six New Process theses into account.
Talking about process management basics, I have the following in mind:
Process Management Fundamentals
1. A distinction is made between working “in” the process and working “on” the process:
When working “in” the process, we speak of the execution of all operational and administrative business processes of an organization. Working “on” the process is about steering and improving these processes. Working “on” the process is also often referred to as the “process of process management”.
2. The process of process management provides the framework:
No matter how the process of process management is defined in detail in an organization, it should include the following elements. These elements should be considered as a cycle:
- Strategy: We start with the strategic direction. The process of process management must contain a procedure for transforming the corporate strategy for each process into a process strategy and for setting the direction for the further development of the processes.
- Design: As an element of the process of process management, the design of business processes must be defined. This includes aspects such as architecture, activities, roles, qualification requirements, infrastructure, organizational structure, indicators as well as process management role assignment and communication flows for working on the process. The design can be developed either incrementally, i.e. in small continuous improvement steps or disruptively through process innovation.
- Implementation: To put it plainly, the aim is to create the technical, organizational and personnel conditions for a sustainable execution of the process. In reality, however, this element is an essential part of the process, as it is about doing everything possible to bring the process to life.
- Steering: After successful implementation, it is about steering the process execution on all levels: Globally, in the individual instances and in each organizational unit involved. The goal should be to achieve the process objectives defined in the strategy and to identify potential for improvement. If possible, ideas for improvement can be implemented directly locally in the process execution, or – even better – can be incorporated into the next cycle for design improvement to scale on a global level.
Of course, there are many different process life cycle concepts in science and practice, but in my understanding they all cover the above-mentioned elements.
3. A distinction is made between the two areas of responsibility for process design (how) and process execution (what):
For me, it is elementary for the success of the process management approach to differentiate between these two areas of responsibility. In “process design” it is determined “how” something is done. Here, for example, the role of the process owner is responsible for defining her or his own process with all the details (see under 2).
In “process execution”, the process participants are told “what” to do. In other words, the employees take on the roles assigned to them and execute the corresponding processes. This is where resources are consumed, products and services are created, and money is earned.
Ideally, the process of process management takes these two areas of responsibility into account by defining corresponding process management roles and clearly assigned activities. The “Framework for Assignment of Responsibilities” (FAR+), which we have described in various publications, can also be used for this purpose.
4. The process of process management is applied to itself:
Finally, the high art is to apply the process of process management to the topic of process management itself and to fill all elements with life. This can be applied to the two areas of responsibility “process design” and “process execution”, i.e. the how and the what:
Process design: For the process of process management the elements should consider the following aspects:
- Strategy: The process management strategy of the organization is defined and the direction for the concrete design of the process management process is given.
- Design: The individual elements (see 2) are designed in sub-processes and documented in consideration of the following – not complete – listing: Process management roles such as process owner and architect and their qualification requirements, tools and methods to be used (e.g. for process documentation), organizational structure for the execution of the process, indicators for steering as well as communication flows for the work on the process of process management.
- Implementation: Here the prerequisites for the execution of the process management process are created. This includes the introduction of the appropriate tools such as the one for process documentation, the implementation of the necessary organizational structure as well as the staffing of the positions including the assignment of roles to the employees. The training of all roles involved must of course not be missing here.
- Steering: The basic principle here is the design of the communication flows in order to further develop the process and steer its execution. In addition, the process community should be moderated and platforms for exchange among the roles involved should be provided.
Process execution: Finally, the process of process management must be executed. In abstract terms, this involves the application of the elements described under 2 to a specific business process. Thus, work is done on this process, which becomes visible, for example, by creating the documentation for the individual business processes. This documentation then serves as the basis for the further development, implementation and steering of the respective business process.
For me, these fundamentals are the basis for managing a company. I am aware that many organizations have not yet arrived there, and it is challenging to inspire people for excellent processes.
So, how can we inspire people for excellent processes?
A first advice can be the application of the other six New Process theses to process management itself:
- Trust the people working in and on the business processes
- Involve the people working in and on the business processes into the work on the process of process management
- Foster the development of the people in the business processes with regards to process management
- Design cooperation in and on the process of process management to meet people’s needs
- Take advantage of the different cultures
- Give meaning to the process of process management
Based on this, specific measures can be platforms to bring people together, business games to experience the benefit of process management, or trainings and workshops. For more specific ideas, please feel free to contact me.