Do Processes Fail People or do People Fail the Processes?
No matter how large or small a company is, team members and processes both evolve at different times and it is difficult to keep them both in sync. Process management should be looked at like any other job in the company. There needs to be a person responsible for maintaining the documentation. Derek Sommer, Owner and CEO of Spud Software, PACManager, and SpudGroup, shares his insight from years of experience.
If you are the dedicated business process manager (BPM), or like in most small businesses, wearing several hats, there are three basic rules to live by:
Rule #3: Process documentation should be easily accessible and maintained.
Rule #2: If you can’t easily explain the process, break it down until it is easy to explain and understand.
Rule #1: Always follow the process.
Process documentation should be easily accessible and maintained.
Depending upon the office space and meeting rooms, Sommer recommends that the BPM shares their processes in a binder and/or mounted on the wall in large print. By doing this, it makes the company’s processes easy to reference. If there is a process that needs to be updated or added, it can be notated right away and on a regular basis. Finally, the BPM updates the processes and redistributes the binders and/or large prints.
This can seem time consuming at first, but give it some time and you will see progress. Once team members start seeing the processes referenced by leadership, they will eventually reference it themselves instead of continually coming to the leadership team with questions.
If you can’t easily explain the process, break it down until it is easy to explain and understand.
It is tempting for a BPM to do a quick and dirty flowchart to map out a process. This works while mapping out the details of the flowchart, but should never be put in the binder or shared with the office until it is fully revised and refined. If you have team members that are always looking for ways to fight the process or resist change, it is best to have the processes thoroughly thought out before sharing. Otherwise, you may find yourself defending the importance of why processes need to be in place instead of spending time where you are needed the most. If a process was thought through and easy to understand, it is difficult for anyone to fight it.
If you are wondering when a process is complete and ready to be shared, a great tip is to hand a few team members the documentation and ask them to explain it to you. If they can explain it and it does not raise any questions, it is ready to share with the entire team.
Always follow the process.
This should be the easiest rule, but like the above, if it is not done every time by everyone. The leadership must understand the Return On Investment (ROI) of putting processes in place and support the BPM or all of their efforts towards effective processes will fall by the wayside. An easy measurable for the new processes is when you can track how long the old process took and then how long it takes with the new process. A more difficult, but possibly even more rewarding benefit, is when team members stop going to the leadership for direction because they know what to do from the process documentation.
After Sommer explains the three rules, it is understandable how effective processes can free up the leadership team and make the team members feel more confident in their jobs. In turn, everyone is happier, morale is increased, and it adds to the company bottom line.
If you or your company struggle with efficient, cost effective processes, let us see if we can help with PAC. Feel free to reach out to us at 810-695-0001 with any questions regarding the process. Or visit our website at https://pacmanager.com.