Achieving process excellence is possible. To do it you can start by bringing together the top performers within your organization to capture what it is that makes them good at what they do. This isn’t always easy because many top performers can’t always easily articulate the underlying reason for their success.
We see these top performers in every organization. One division consistently outperforms other divisions. One customer service representative handles more calls per day, producing better customer satisfaction outcomes than their counterparts. One department handles transactions at a 10% lower cost than industry averages.
But why does this happen?
Drawing from the disciplines of Enterprise Architecture, EA practitioners can help organizations not only discover but standardize their best practices to increase overall business performance. If you leverage an EA solution during the business process design phase of your business process management (BPM) projects, you can better discover what your best practices are. More specifically, exactly what the things are that a top performer or department consistently does well that helps them achieve better results. Oftentimes what is really working is not necessarily what the company thinks is working.
What EA disciplines can help draw out best practices? EA practitioners know to sometimes move out of the conference room to observe workers, to see work as it unfolds and inquire about why a particular action was carried out. This observation creates a more detailed picture of actions and interactions that may not be thought of by an expert as they describe their work in a more structured setting. A second technique is to explore the interrelationships of roles that depend on each other to complete work items. In bringing these roles together and developing a better understanding between the teams of each other’s work you can bring more visibility to the entire process. Finally, applying consistency and structure to the definitions of business processes will begin to lay a foundation for how work is understood by the organization.
In addition to approaching the discovery phase with a proven EA methodology, bringing visibility into the process is another critical part of uncovering excellence. For many groups, it isn’t until the current process is fully understood that opportunities for improvement can be identified and shared with other groups. Visibility can often reveal immediate differences and opportunities for better practices. Once processes are visible, additional opportunities for improvement can be discovered through a collaborative process with top performers and departments. During this discovery and design phase it is very important that you include the business users that will be impacted by the proposed changes. In doing this you will have the ability to capture and leverage how these business user’s ideas build upon each other to answer the “what if” questions, like: Why are we doing work this way? What are the best ideas for doing this work in a smarter way?
Uncovering what makes you excellent is the first step in making process excellence possible in your organization.
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