Do you manage your business processes or do they manage you? Do you even have processes in place and if you do, are they followed by your team? Let’s take a look at the importance of this below.
Every business relies on processes to ensure that day to day tasks are completed correctly. If you are a sole trader, you may not even document those processes, simply keeping them in your head.
As your business grows, however, it becomes more important to document processes and to have a system for managing them. Indeed, keeping track of the processes that keep your business ticking over is a skill all on its own.
Business process management is something that has evolved a lot in recent years. A lot of people think of it as being a technology-driven thing, but it does not need to be.
Process management is, at its core, about how people get things done, and how they can combine their efforts to create value for the company that they manage or work for.
That human element to process management should not be forgotten. There are several skills that are important for successful process management.
Depending on who you ask, you might get different answers as to which skills are the most important.
Under the Six Sigma system there are five skills that often get flagged up as being the most important, let’s take a look at each of those in turn:
Business Process Modelling is a vital part of managing your processes and your continuous improvement framework.
Your model lays out the development process – what the model is, when it was implemented, and why it is the way that it is.
This is important because it provides clarity not just to the people who are following the system now, but also to those who join the company later who may not remember how things used to be.
Business Process Modelling helps us to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past by explaining what we have already tried, how that went, and what motivated us to create new processes.
While a lot of BPM is based on operational and technical competencies, there is also a need for communication skills.
Communication is particularly important at bigger companies, where there needs to be not just a clearly laid out process, but also willing uptake of that process by everyone in the team.
Successful process management is not just about identifying what needs to change, you must also be able to highlight:
The team should understand the motivation behind the changes so that they do not feel as if their workflow is being changed for no reason.
Involving key stakeholders in process changes can often improve uptake and result in better implementation for your business improvement initiatives.
Project management is something that people usually think of as being a separate issue. Launching a new product line might be a project. Process management is something within that project.
While that is often the case, sometimes process management can be such a broad thing that it becomes its own project.
This means that it’s useful for the people who are in charge of process management to have some project management skills.
Change management is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and that means different things to different people. In essence, change management involves managing the way that changes are implemented.
It means managing the psychology and behavioural aspects of change, as well as managing the technical aspects. Change, especially in big companies, cannot happen overnight.
Change needs to start with the senior management and filter through the organisation, and there may be pushback from people at each level, especially from staff that have been with the company for a long time, who do not want to change how they do their jobs.
Change management works best if those who are ‘in the field’ feel involved with the change, and there are tests and opportunities to provide feedback about the new processes before they ‘go live’.
Good change management involves sponsorship, involvement, gaining buy-in from those who are going to be affected by the change and using communication skills to ease the transition.
You also need to make sure that you are helping people prepare for the change in advance. Change management is a skill that many project managers lack, but that can be developed with experience.
Business process discovery is perhaps the core skill that everyone who manages processes should hone on.
Business process discovery is the method through which a process manager identifies the processes that are already in place at a company so that they can focus on which ones need attention and on which skills should be developed by specific people.
Understanding the processes as they exist right now is vital if you want to steer a business towards implementing new, improved processes.
By identifying where there are productivity issues or gaps that could be hindering a company’s efficiency, you can hone in on areas where easy improvements could be made. This is a skill that requires clear, unemotional thinking.
In some cases, a skilled outsider can do a better job of flagging up issues with your processes than someone who is already a part of the company.
Six Sigma is just one of many options for improving your business’ productivity and efficiency. Many businesses choose to take the Six Sigma approach but with a lean or creative twist or to use just a few parts of the system.
If you take the time to learn the system then you can decide for yourself which areas would best benefit your business. However, Six Sigma is only one of many systems that you can use for your business.
At High Velocity Business Improvement Coaching, we are able to help you with setting up the processes that are best for your business, or coach you how to better use your existing processes.
We coach your business to understand your problems, the size of the problems and how to solve the true root cause of the problems.
This means you can fix minor issues before they become major problems and deliver a better overall customer experience for your customers.
Please contact us today to book a free consultation or for more information.