Four Key Elements of a Process Initiative
No two process implementation initiatives are the same. It varies in scope, objectives and limitations because of budget, time, resources, and complexities. Although process initiative projects may vary, there are four key elements which assure good results. These four critical items are: (1) Process Definition, (2) Process and Activity Roles, (3) Available Tools and (4) Training.
Plain and simple reality- these elements are inseparably linked. The absence of one element will hugely affect the result of the process initiative. On the contrary, if the factors all are well attended to, you can expect excellent results.
Many process initiatives fail because:
• Processes are not well designed and documented. People in operations were not involved in the design process.
• Processes are well defined but roles are not clearly assigned in the organization as to who is responsible and / or accountable for a certain process.
• In some instances, limitations in the tool or lack thereof make the organization resort to workaround and this is time-consuming and costly.
• All systems go but people are not well trained, resulting to inconsistency in process execution
To give a more tangible example, let’s say that you are implementing a logistics dispatch system. You have selected the platform and made sure that it is customized based on the needs of the operation. During the process design, different levels of the organization were involved and consulted. You came up with a clear and concise documentation of the processes and roles that will perform the activities. Roles are defined, assigned to personnel in the organization and was clearly communicated. System procedures and policies are in place.
Then you and your team decided to forego the well planned training program that you have scheduled to speed up the rollout of the initiative and reduce travel costs for people who will need to come from different dispatch locations. You are comfortable with the training manuals and the quick guides. Communication is already done and the operational support structure is in place.
Your decision to forego one key process initiative element will result to the following possible outcomes:
• Dispatch process will be executed inconsistently depending on the user’s personal understanding of the manuals and materials.
• You can be flooded with manual errors due to the user’s unfamiliarity of the system. This results to spending more time in correcting and stabilizing these errors.
• You risk affecting customer service delivery because of probable incidents like wrong orders and delayed deliveries
The project team in the example above seemed to have done everything correctly. However, they made one crucial and costly mistake. User training, as with the other elements, is equally important. Neglecting one of the key elements could result in project failure.
This does not mean to say, that the project team must focus solely on these four key elements. These cannot substitute existing important process and project implementation methodologies and practices. These key elements are only intended to complement whatever process implementation methodology you follow.