The existence of a “process of process management” is core to an excellent process management approach. It guides all people working on business processes through the different phases such as process strategy, design, implementation, and steering to continuously improve or innovate processes.
You can apply the process of process management to work on each and every business process as well as on the process of process management itself.
There are already a number of process management processes or life cycles out there, but none of them focuses on the people as requested by the New Process approach. To change this, I have developed the New Process Life Cycle.
The New Process Life Cycle guides you to rethink your own process and it helps to implement the New Process Principles along the way. It can be applied by everybody who is accountable to define a specific business process.
The New Process Life Cycle consists of 8 phases:
1) Define process purpose: Why do we need this process?
This phase is absolutely new to all process life cycles known before. It is designed to answer the WHY of the respective business process it is applied to. Bringing a representative sample of people working in and on the process together to define the purpose of the process will help you to provide guidance and motivation for the further development and execution of the process.
You will find more tools, methods and best practices on how to define a process purpose in this blog post.
2) Define process strategy: What is our process vision to fulfill the process purpose?
If you want to go somewhere, it is always good to know where you are right now. Thus, we start the strategy phase by reviewing the history and status quo of the process as basis for the development of the process strategy. Interviews of people working in the process can be one tool to integrate the people into the work on the process.
As soon as we know where we are, a target picture of how the process will fulfill the process purpose will be developed together with all stakeholders. Targets will be deduced, and indicators defined to measure fulfillment. The process strategy will help to transfer the WHY into the HOW.
3) Design process: How does a process look like to get from where we are to our vision?
Now it is time to design HOW the WHY will be fulfilled. To do this, we start to design the process itself. This is still the creative part of the process where new ways of working can be explored and tested in a rapid and agile way. While doing this, the New Process Principle “Trust the people” can be demonstrated by designing the process in a way that guarantees the people in the process the freedom to make independent decisions.
4) Model process: How do we perform the process in a safe and repeatable way?
As soon as the process design is developed, it is time to formalize it in a process model and to check its conformity with regards to legal and normative requirements. A process model is a standardized notation that helps to define the details of the process and to provide the same picture of the process to all stakeholders. This can be used to scale the process to all locations, for example by process trainings.
5) Implement process: What do we have to do to get the process running?
The implementation phase will create all technical (e.g., infrastructure), organizational (e.g., organizational structure), and personnel (e.g., trainings) requirements to execute the process at all locations. – So, implementing a new process is way more than just sending out an e-mail…
5) Steer process execution: How do we assure target fulfillment?
As soon as a process is implemented, execution of the process is started. To check, if the process delivers the desired results, it is recommended to monitor process performance based on indicators. If necessary, measures have to be developed to a) improve process execution or b) improve process design. In case of a), we continue with the next phase. In case of b), we restart the overall process life cycle.
Process steering should happen in a continuous dialogue of the people being accountable and responsible for process design (e.g., Process Owner, Process Architects and Process Managers) as well as process execution (e.g., Line Managers and Employees).
7) Improve process execution: How can we continuously improve process execution?
As a small life cycle within the bigger life cycle, the execution improvement phase is designed to continuously improve the execution of the process within the context of the process design. To be more precise, Line Managers are requested to find ways to optimize process execution without changing the process design itself. This can be done by optimizing the local flow of material or eliminating waste and so on.
Phases 1 to 6 are in the accountability of the person being accountable for the process design (e.g., Process Owner). Phase 7 is in the accountability of the person who is accountable for process execution within the respective organizational units (e.g., Line Manager).
I hope, this description clarifies how to use the New Process Life Cycle. If not, please feel free to contact me. For further details, check out the New Process Toolbox with specific tools and methods along the New Process Life Cycle. The New Process Toolbox provides more ideas to rethink your own process.