This article is part of our Process 101 guide.
In its simplest form, process management is about aligning your business processes with the overall strategic goal(s) of your organisation. It involves finding ways to continuously improve the way your business operates to make it more efficient and effective.
Are you thinking that’s easier said than done?
Process: love it or hate it?
We all have a love hate relationship with process. We love that it makes us feel reassured that tasks are done, everything is working and we’re safe to get on with the things we really enjoy. But we hate doing it and the way we feel controlled and disempowered.
Whichever side of the fence you sit on, the fact is there’s no getting away from process. And used in the right way, the power of process can actually give you that competitive edge.
Getting started with process management in 10 easy steps
1) Empower people don’t control them: Ultimately people are smarter than process. If you tell them what to do it demotivates and destroys the creative value people add. People love a sense of purpose so include them, support them and invite feedback.
2) Never force someone to perform a step: If you force someone to do something and they can’t they’ll just tick it off anyway. What’s better is to allow them to bypass a step and capture why they didn’t/couldn’t do it. Taking this approach, you’re constantly improving your processes.
3) Make procedures useful to the people using them: Process exists to help make life easier for everyone so it shouldn’t be a burden to use. Include the information people really need, attaching supporting documents, templates and links, and they’re going to engage and follow the process because the process helps them.
4) Use procedures to track and monitor: In your organisation there will be ‘essential’ things that you need to know are being done. But keep them to a minimum, and make it easy for people to report they are done.
5) Use checklists and attach files: People love ticking things off of a list – you can’t deny there’s something satisfying about checking a box! But to make a checklist really useful, attach all the information – documents, links and templates – that they need so it’s all in one place.
6) Don’t put them in a file: A sure fire way to ensure procedures are hardly ever looked at is to file them away for reference. Make them a resource people find useful, make them easily available and make them collaborative and your team will see the value in them.
7) Continuously improve: Always provide a way for people to give feedback at the point when the process isn’t working. This is the only time they will do this, so capture it in the moment and feed it back into your process.
8) Listen to feedback: People will only give feedback for as long as they feel they are being heard, so if you give them a place to record feedback all of the time, it just becomes part of the culture. Then all you need to do is listen, act and continuously improve.
9) Make them a training resource: The great thing about process management is that by simply documenting all the steps in a process, it can be picked up by anyone and easily followed.
10) Keep it simple: Some people try to manage too much with procedures. It’s better to get a simple process working, with the essential steps completed and tracked, than to worry about every little minor step.