Everyone talks about it - but it is far from everyone who succeeds in streamlining their business processes. However, there are many benefits to both employees and the company’s clients in using Business Process Management (BPM).
In this article, you will find a complete step by step guide on how to implement a new business process, which does actually last in the long run, so you won’t find yourself falling back into old habits and loopholes.
BPM enables organisations to tailor business functions to customer needs. It also helps managers assess how best to implement, monitor, and measure company resources. With a successful BPM, you have the opportunity to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, minimise errors whilst optimising your results.
It sounds pretty simple. Nevertheless, there are demands on both the staff involved and in particular the management which can make BPM a complex matter. When working with BPM, you will often need to change your colleagues’ behavioural patterns in relation to how they perform their work.
- Definition of the process to be optimised
- Assessment of the extent of inefficiency to define the potential for optimisation
- Analysis and definition of the improvement points
And the eternal task: staying focused to make sure that old habits do not return
If you know when you are due to execute the individual phases, then you are already quite a way down the line when it comes to working with process optimisation.
- Perform the task yourself, or monitor your colleague doing it.
- Write down ALL the steps of the task and describe them in detail. Document any errors or complicated steps with images. If the workflow takes place on a computer, you have the advantage to record the workflow.
- Break down the workflows into their smallest details.
- Stress-test your study with a colleague who performs the same workflow. That way, you minimise bias in tasks.
- Visualise the workflow on a whiteboard or be creative with a smart infographic.
Look for ‘stupid’ rules, bottlenecks and errors. These types of tasks have many facets
- How many people must approve reports, budgets etc?
- Avoid detours - everything becomes ingrained over time and if you have performed a task sufficiently, you will have found some shortcuts.
- How many times must a presentation be approved?
- Take the recipient’s point of view. Sometimes you will find that small corrections in your work can have a huge impact on the value of the finished result. That’s why it is important to gain an understanding of how this task provides value to the recipient.
- Prioritise and delegate. It is the eternal art of balance. Maybe you are performing parts of this task that are not really your subject area? Assess whether it adds value to the finished product, otherwise delegate it to your colleague.
- Present your findings to management. You will get nowhere without a mandate from the management to change the current situation. Spend the most energy on presenting the result of the implemented upgrade. If you are the management yourself, then just roll up your sleeves!
- Follow up! Old habits tend to return, and if you are not aware of your implementation plan, then you can be 100% sure that it will not be implemented.
- Evaluate! Be honest, did the optimisation work as intended? Include those involved, especially those who did not like your implementation.
Business Process Management sounds easy - and then again not. It can take a long time to implement a new process in any company.
If you are facing a larger and more extensive process, then divide it into smaller phases. Otherwise, you’ll end up with the feeling of having started a marathon you had forgotten to train for. Set a sub-goal for yourself and your team, so you also have milestones to celebrate along the way.
Are you curious about reading more about optimising your team’s efficiency? Then you have a good reason to read our case on Team Effectiveness.