Subscribe to My Feed   Follow Me On Twitter   Join Me On LinkedIn   Friend Me On Facebook

Updating Processes? Go Slowly!

Refining or updating processes don’t go well when the project is rushed or when the people tasked with doing the work are not the ones who use the process. When the project of updating processes fails, the company may give up and leaves things as they are – the status quo prevails.

Processes should be evaluated with an eye toward improvement. This evaluation should be done on a regular basis – bi-annually or annually. Maybe more frequently if significant changes have occurred in the workplace.

You’ll notice I wrote above “the project of updating processes,” in the first paragraph. That’s because updating processes is exactly that – a project. Treat it as one.
Take these steps to updating processes with a focus on managing it as a project.

  1. What is the objective, or end goal? Why do you want, or need, to change the process (e.g., support new technology; enable for quicker time to market; reduce customer service response time?)
  2. Ensure the team working on the project represents those who use the process and those who are impacted by the process. (Internal resources; you likely won’t have a customer who may be impacted by the process change on the project team; however, someone who represents that customer’s voice should be on the team.) Ensure pilot test members are those who will actually use the process.
  3. Give the team time during the day to work on the process improvement project. Don’t just expect them to “fit it in” somehow. Provide the team the tools, technology and the support they need to be successful; and enable for a reasonable timeframe to be successful.
  4. Early on create a number of plans, including: pilot test, transition, roll out (implementation), communication, and training.
  5. Follow these steps from start to finish …
    1. Ensure complete documentation of the current process as it is currently working.
    2. Develop a number of “could be” options to improve the process.
    3. Evaluate “could be” options against criteria selected to meet objective.
    4. Narrow down “could be” options to no more than two to pilot test.
    5. Test the process and tweak as needed.
    6. Implement the training plan and ensure training documentation.
    7. Implement the transition and roll out plan.
  6. Check in at about a month and then again in three months – evaluate improvements from updated/refined process and capture lessons learned.

You might consider launching process improvement initiatives as ongoing annual projects. As the organization changes, process will need to change. As employees find better ways of getting work done, as they rely more on technology, they change their processes. An annual project of reviewing and refining processes enables for improvements in how the work gets done overall.

Comments are closed.