Process Improvement and Management (PI&M)

Process Improvement and Management (PI&M)

Identify, analyze and improve the Key Processes

According to Rummler (1996) an organization is only as good as its processes. To be able to make the necessary changes in an organization, one needs to understand the key processes of the company. Rummler and Brache (1991) suggest a model for running a Process Improvement and Management project (PI&M), containing the following steps:

1. Identify the process to be improved (based on a critical business issue).The identification of key processes can be a formal or informal exercise. The management team might select processes by applying a set of criteria derived from strategic and tactical priorities, or process selection is based on obvious performance gaps. The important is to select the process(es) which have the greatest impact on a competitive advantage or customer requirement.

2. Develop the objective(s) for the project based on the requirements of the process.The focus might be on quality improvement, productivity, cost, customer service or cycle time. The goal is however always the same; to get the key process under control.

3. Select the members of the cross-functional team.A horizontal (cross-functional) analysis is carried out by a team comprised of representatives of all functions involved in the process. While a consultant or in-house staff person can do the job, the quality of the analysis and the commitment to change is far greater with a cross-functional team.

4. Document the current process by creating a flowchart or "organization map."Describe the process regarding the Organizational level, the Process level and the Job/Performer level according to Rummler (1996). Develop a cross-functional process map for the process.

5. Identify "disconnects" in the process.“Disconnections” are everything that inhibit the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. The identification should be categorized into the three levels: The Organizational level, the Process level and the Job/Performer level.

6. Recommend changes (organizational, in the process or in its execution).Categorize and prioritize the main problems and possibilities, evaluate alternative solutions. Develop a cross-functional process map for the recommended process.

7. Establish process and sub-process measures.The process measures should reflect the objectives of the project.

8. Implement the improvements.

The elements of a successful implementation effort

* Executive leadership and management commitment to see the project through to successful implementation.

* A clear statement of why the change is necessary.

* A clear vision of how the organization will be different after the changes.

* Sound, comprehensive recommendations.

* A sound implementation strategy and plan.

* Adequate resources and time.

* Communication of plans, roles and responsibilities, benefits, progress, resolutions.

* Willingness of affected functions and individuals to support the proposed changes.

* Implementation is effectively managed and executed.

This model for process analysis is just as useful for smaller processes as for larger and more complex processes. Completion of Steps 4-7 can take from three days to three months, depending on the complexity of the process and the extent of change required to remove the disconnects.Some of the benefits of this cross-functional team approach to process improvement are that the participants learn a tremendous amount about the overall business and their role in it. People earlier seen as unskilled might suddenly understand what is required from them, and will start behaving according to this. The increased understanding of the process will also increase the learning from additional formal training initiated, but also reduce the amount of training needed. When the organization finally understand what their key processes are they will more easily feel committed to the implementation of improvements.

Ongoing Process Improvement and Management (PI&M)

Ongoing Process Improvement and Management can be introduced by:

* Monitoring its performance against customer-driven process measures.

* Certifying the process (ensuring that it meets a set of effectiveness criteria).

* Appointing a process owner who is responsible on an ongoing basis for process performance.

* Ensuring that the process has a plan and a budget.

* Creating a reward system which encourages process (as opposed to parochially functional) effectiveness.
* Managing the white space between functions and seeing that their subordinate managers do the same.

The system framework of PI&M can be used both to improve the flow of a specific process and at the organizational level to examine general management issues. By introducing PI&M as a standard for continuous improvement, employees are given clear guidance as to how they are expected to behave. By this she would create clear values for a company that will have a good chance of being accepted by the whole organization.


* Rummler, Geary A. 1996 “Redesigning the organization and making it work”, CMA Magazine; Jun96, Vol. 70 Issue 5
* Rummler, Geary A. og Alan P. Brache. 1991 “Managing the white space in the organization chart”, Supervision; May91, Vol. 52 Issue 5.

ee also

*Business Process Mapping
*Business Process Reingeneering
*Process Management
*Six Sigma

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