If your company is bogged down by repetitive, time-consuming and laborious tasks, you need to implement business process management (BPM). When properly implemented, BPM helps in simplifying and minimizing repetitive tasks, clarifies tasks and responsibilities, and defines performance metrics.
The objective of implementing a business process management is to improve operational efficiency, which is aided with the help and expertise of an implementation consultant.
Improved efficiency, in turn, leads to an increase in productivity and profitability. When tasks are simplified and clarified, those responsible for performing them are able to work with clarity and precision since they know exactly what they are supposed to do. They also understand fully how their productivity or performance is measured since there are clear performance metrics.
A number of common process management mistakes occur during implementation. Below are five that I consider quite grievous.
1. Lone Ranger Tactics
One of the common mistakes is the misguided belief by high-level executives that they have answers to every scenario. Failure to consult other departmental heads, employees, and other important decision-makers when drafting a process map is counterproductive. In fact, it might just be a waste of valuable time since there is little or no ownership and support for the process. If you adopt such lone ranger tactics, when implementation problems arise, there will be minimal support from other stakeholders. Always aim at consulting everyone involved and seek their advice and opinions at every stage of the process.
2. Allowing Excessive Sign-offs
Every process has its fair share of problems and mistakes. Even the most efficiently executed process will occasionally run into bad weather. These instances can, however, be mitigated by having a series of checks, reviews and sign-offs. However, too many of these at every implementation stage could grind performance of other priority tasks to a standstill. It is important to strike the right balance between clarifying tasks and assigning responsibility and moving the process along without too many roadblocks.
3. Failure to Adapt to New Dynamics
The beautiful thing about BPM is that everyone involved has both an opinion and a certain level of experience in business process management. However, what you know is not all there is to know. Forcing the management and other employees to fall in line behind a cumbersome, rigid process is a sure recipe for attracting defiance and resistance. Instead, listen to everyone’s opinion and involve them in the mapping process. As much as it is practical, strive to achieve consensus on how to lay out the map and what methodology and tools should be used. Just agreeing on the methodology is a prerequisite for a successful implementation of a BPM.
4. Vague Responsibilities and Tasks
Clarity is of the essence when implementing BPM. Define every task clearly to the point where everyone understands exactly what tasks and responsibilities they are expected to execute. This may entail using spaghetti or workflow diagrams, organizational charts; etc. There cannot be room for ambiguity as this is a major cause of inefficiencies in many organizations. Employees must agree on the layout of the map, how their performance will be measured, and how each will hold the other accountable.
5. Failure to Review Results
As the name suggests business process management is not a one-time event. This, however, does not mean you should keep on changing the layout of your map. However, it is critical for you and your team to regularly review progress and assess the success or failure of the process. Some employees are not able to understand immediately how the map layout will affect their work, but things get clearer as the process moves along. It is therefore important to allow time for review so that everyone can offer their feedback about the success or otherwise of the project.
The best approach to process management implementation is to involve all the stakeholders. Seek their opinions and involve them in drafting the process map. Chances of a successful process management implementation are high when everyone understands their role in the entire process.