At work, as in life, the best ideas often come when you open yourself up to new possibilities. And the same is true when looking at your business processes. As a wise person once said, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. It's time to open our minds and embrace change!
So far in our series on business process review, we've looked at the importance of continuous improvement, identified the people you need to speak to, mapped out the stages in your current processes and considered which steps are needed and which are wastes. Next, we need to change the process to remove those wasted steps and make any other improvement we can. Let's get to it!
Getting our new process together calls on two pieces of information we've already gathered:
The steps in the original process
The outputs of the discussions about that process
And mapping the revised process simply calls for you to consider both of these pieces of information together. Applying the outputs of the discussions to the original process will point you towards what can be taken away and what needs changing.
We usually approach it like this. First, we'll have the original process mapped out on the wall. Then, we'll work through each of the discussion outputs and think what that means for different steps of the process. Some will be crossed out as they're simply not needed any more. Others will be adapted, to incorporate different systems or people. We'll mark these changes onto the original process as we go. As a final step, we'll draw up the new process, capturing the agreed new steps and the people involved.
If it sounds easy, that's because you've done a lot of the hard work already! If you're still puzzled, let's look at an example to help.
In our previous post, we look at a process for event marketing and asked questions about how activities could be streamlined and/or speeded up. Our new process will incorporate responses to the questions we've asked. So, to gather copy, we might have decided that the time period was too long; for our new process, we'll try out a different approach, that might include event descriptions being available as soon as the event is agreed (or, better still, part of the agreement process). If we've decided that too many people are currently signing off materials, then we might decide that one check is enough in our new process. And if we thought too many different people were involved in uploading information to different platforms, we might offer additional training so that one person could manage all of these tasks.
The revised process should represent an improvement on your current process. You can quantify this improvement in a range of ways, from saving you time and money, to adding to the customer or employee experience. Don't expect your process to be perfect - you'll never get there! - so just make sure you're moving in the right direction.
Before we change how we do things, we'll need to test and adapt. But that's the next stage. For now, enjoy the progress you've made on your continuous improvement journey!
If you need specific guidance on your business processes, then please get in touch. We can provide bespoke consultancy or training so that your team can develop the skills they need to review processes themselves.