Finding the perfect process framework
Discover how to build the foundations for a healthy process framework from the ground up in this article by Nintex senior product specialist Thomas KohlenbachAdd bookmark
Process management has become an area of significant growth and innovation in the last few decades. As businesses strive to increase market share, build customer loyalty and retain high-performing staff, having a sound grip on process information has become a vital aspect of any enterprise.
Of course, when process management becomes a priority, businesses begin looking for a framework on which to build it.
However, deciding which is best can be difficult. Technology giant Philips has had significant success using the model of best practice research organization APQC to support process management. Manufacturing icon Toyota has proven the worth of the Lean process approach through their distribution centers. Yet others swear by using the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) structure, or the framework provided by non-profit management organization EFQM.
Each has strengths and weaknesses, different focus points and specialties, and it would be easy to get lost in the forest of acronyms and approaches.
In my experience working with numerous businesses of various sizes and types, I can say the best process framework is the one that works for your organization.
There is simply no simple answer
It really is that straightforward, because there is no ‘silver bullet’ for process management success. Each of the leading frameworks has its own nuances and approaches, and every business has its own unique needs and structure that any framework will need to be applied to.
There is no way anyone could claim that one particular approach would succeed as a one-size-fits-all solution. You can guarantee that for every perfect fit, there are twice as many exceptions.
Set the stage for success
Here is what can you do about finding the perfect process framework for your organization. Before you begin shopping for a framework, take a look at your foundations. Any process framework needs a healthy process culture to build upon. That includes a few key features:
The people that know your processes best are the ones that use them on a daily basis. If they are not actively involved in process management, you will have difficulty building momentum for continuous improvement.
Advice: Ensure teams have ways to participate in process improvement and that their voices can be heard by those responsible for implementing change.
Processes do not just improve themselves. They need to be curated and cultivated by subject-matter experts who have the authority and enthusiasm to ensure they get the attention they deserve. Process ownership at the operational level keeps process management practical.
Advice: Put passionate people who understand the process value and purpose in a position to help shape it.
Process owners and experts need to know that process improvement is important. That means involving every level of the organization, right up to the C-suite. Having active interest from executives, including a dedicated chief process officer, communicates value and priority for process management. It ensures everyone is focused on making processes work for the business.
Advice: Establish lines of communication and accountability that ensure no one feels out on their own when it comes to managing their processes.
It takes more than a few internet searches to determine the right process framework for your business. Good consultation, thorough assessments of your needs and careful evaluation of the options are all necessary to ensure the best investment is made.
Still, long before any of that begins you can make a start by building a strong process culture and a healthy governance structure that will support any framework, and set your organization on a path to success.