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Why your process management sucks and what to do about it

by | 12 Dec, 2018 | Process

More than half (54%) of senior managers in SMEs are wasting a day every week just managing process, with a further third (34%) wasting two days each week. Why? What’s going on??

Show me yours…

Imagine your customer onboarding process. What does it look like – and I mean what does it physically look like with all the steps written down? Where can you find it? Do you allow other members of the team to see it? When was the last time it was actually followed?

When we talk to someone new, one of the first things we ask them to do is to share their most difficult process with us. Either we’re told:

“I can’t show you because it’s not written down.”

“I don’t want to show you because it’s not perfect.”

Or (our favourite!), “Here’s the process in all its complicated glory with 101 different steps, branching logic and interdependencies.”

…I’ll show you mine

This is our customer on-boarding process:

It contains 19 steps.

It’s saved on Process Bliss.

Every member of the team can see it.

It was last followed yesterday, and I can see a detailed audit trail of every time it’s been run. In each instance, I can see any steps that weren’t performed and the reasons why.

No, it’s not perfect, but that’s OK. We have something written down that the team can share, follow and improve over time.

And yes, it’s really simple. Complicated processes never get followed, they’re just filed away so you have a record of the way you’d like things to be done. Simple processes are run every time because people find them useful.

Simple process in 10 easy steps

If you’ve read this far you already know what to do to improve your process management, but let me make it clear:

  1. Your process doesn’t have to be perfect.
  2. Write it down.
  3. Put it somewhere it can be easily found and shared.
  4. Involve other people in your process.
  5. Include all the accompanying information with the process that someone would need to run it efficiently.
  6. Allow people to ignore the process. “People are smarter than process.”
  7. Capture the reasons why someone was unable to perform a step.
  8. Allow people to find a better way and change/improve the process.
  9. Maintain an audit of every time the process has been run.
  10. Keep it simple.

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