Fear not! The Easter holidays are a great time to get your team together, delve into your processes and do a little easter-eggy-treasure hunt. All yolks aside—OK, we’ll give the puns a rest now—there are probably lots of little treats, or as we like to call them, process optimization opportunities, to be found if you take a look under the hood.

How to hunt for optimization opportunities

A good search starts with a good plan. To identify which processes you think could be improved, talk with your team and if possible, take a look at your data. This helps you really find out where variances in your processes are hiding.

In-depth process analysis can be easily achieved with process mining technology. When you carry out a target-state/current-state comparison—that is, take data from a process in its actual state and directly compare it with the modeled process— you will be able to quickly identify the problem areas. Then, you can work out where you can make improvements, or tweak the steps in a process to make it run more smoothly.

However, there is more to process conformity than carrying out process steps properly. It is also important to ask:

  • Were approval limits taken into consideration?
  • Were all required stakeholder approvals collected from various departments?
  • Is the timeframe realistic or are efforts poorly distributed?
  • Process optimization

    Once you have identified your process variants it’s time to start optimizing. Just a few well thought out tweaks and you’ll be sunny side up in no time! (OK, maybe we lied about stopping the puns…) Process optimization involves understanding what could be going wrong in a particular process, then correcting problems. So what might these problems look like?

    Lack of end-to-end transparency

    For a process to function well, it needs a clear trajectory and a definite start and end point. Ask yourself, what input and output parameters are being used? What is the average time‐to‐completion for a single instance of this process? How are handovers being made and could anything be automated? If you can’t answer these questions easily, you may have an issue with transparency.

    Unclear responsibilities

    Is it clear who is responsible for this process? The process owner typically acts as the driving force behind process optimization projects, and knows how it functions from end-to-end. Make sure that when optimizing a process, you involve process stakeholders and leverage their expertise.

    Execution issues

    You now know your current state process situation and you know what you want to improve. You’ve hopefully achieved stakeholder alignment and hashed out plans for how to get things running more efficiently and effectively. Now you need a means to act  on your insights effectively: a Business Process Management (BPM) system that allows you to collaborate, harness the wisdom in your team, and automate where necessary, allowing for rapid execution.

    Last but not least, don’t forget, the fun doesn’t end after the Easter break! You can hunt for process optimization opportunities all year round by taking control of continuous improvement, and making it a cyclical optimization endeavour.

    Once you’ve worked your way through the above, make it a habit easily and repeatedly with the help of Roger Tregear, Consulting Director at Leonardo Consulting and a BPM expert with decades of experience. Roger has compiled the perfect guide to Taking Control of Continuous Improvement for Business Transformation in his guest blog—it’s really cracking!

    Published on: March 26th 2018 - Last modified: April 13th, 2018