Process alignment - The core competencies of Process Excellence: Interview with Bizagi’s Tomasz Jasinkiewicz

PEX Network recently spoke to Bizagi Account Director, Tomasz Jasinkiewicz for our industry report, 'Drive strategic performance through Process Excellence'. The conversation focused on the fundamental pillars of process excellence strategy.

The conversation offered up key insights from someone who, as an Account Manager, has seen first hand the best practices and pain points of process professionals. As such, we thought you'd enjoy the conversation. We hope you enjoy the interview below, and when you're finished, don't forget to grab yourself a copy of the report too.

Bizagi Account Director,
Tomasz Jasinkiewicz

PEX Network: Would you consider process excellence a key strategic capability? Why or why not?

Tomasz Jasinkiewicz: It is a very strategic one! I believe we’ll see pretty soon a lot of formally nominated CPOs – Chief Process Officers.

Process Excellence is strategic because it helps with your bottom line as well as your top line. Good processes are traditionally associated only with the bottom-line, with operational efficiency, and with lower costs. But good processes can also give you better customer service, wider market reach and faster time-to-market. And that’s your top line.

I also see an important reason why process excellence is more important today than a decade ago. The markets move too fast and generate too much data so our human minds just can’t absorb it all. You can’t survive today without automated processes. And you can’t automate them if they are not optimized – well you can, but that’s a rather bad idea – so you need process excellence for both – to optimize and to automate.

PEX Network: What does it mean from your perspective to align process excellence effectively with business strategy?

Tomasz Jasinkiewicz: You could write a PhD thesis in response to this question, but let me try to tackle it briefly. In a nutshell it has to work in two directions:

  1. Top-down you need to define what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re going to measure it. There’s no excellence without measures. You need to clearly communicate it to all levels of your organization and then you have to listen to the feedback you get from the ground. And re-adjust your strategy if it doesn’t work.
  2. Bottom-up you need to constantly measure the SLAs/KPIs for every running process as well as the impact of every change in the processes you make. Then you check if what you measured is in line with what the strategy asked for and if not, then you adjust your processes again.

The key thing to stay ahead of your competition is that you can’t wait for a monthly SLA report. You need to see your KPIs in real time and react fast both directions: top-down and bottom-up.

PEX Network: What core competencies should process professionals consider as critical to successful alignment?

Tomasz Jasinkiewicz: There are many but I would focus on three of them: Collaboration, IT and… Imperfection. Let me explain.

You need collaboration top-down, for the managers to cascade their vision; bottom-up, for the employees to give them a reality check; and peer-to-peer, for co-workers to trust each other and work towards the same goal. You need IT because there’s no process automation, or even basic process control, without IT. And your IT has to be in perfect sync with your business. Think of collaboration again, think of cross-functional teams, think of IT-savvy Business Analysts.

Finally, you need the Imperfection. Process improvement is a process itself. You can’t deploy a perfect process in a big bang. It just takes too much time and money, and by the time you’re finished your process is obsolete. Don’t be perfect! Start with an imperfect version of your process and use it. Then improve this, and improve that. Progress in small steps or – as I like to say – eat with a small spoon. Also, make sure you use tools that allow you to make those small but frequent changes. Just grab the right spoon.

PEX Network: What’s your approach to make process excellence work in practice?

Tomasz Jasinkiewicz: We just follow the philosophy of "Start Small, Think Big and Scale Fast".

  • Start small by picking a small process project to quickly demonstrate ROI and ease-of-use.
  • Think big by aligns this first process to at least one strategic goal and at least one big problem to solve.
  • And then we scale fast – to keep the momentum – by adding more processes, ramping up the skills and growing the BPM culture within the organisation.