Components of a Process

  1. Events: Events are the conditions which must exist for the process to be performed. It is something that happens as opposed to something that is done on purpose. It can think of as the effect which occurs after sufficient cause is provided. Each process starts and ends with an event.

  2. Tasks: A task is the smallest unit into which the activity can be broken down. Breaking it down is not feasible for the purpose at hand. The business process describes the different activities as well as the interrelationship between them. It is important to note that inter-relationships are more important than the tasks. In any structure, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While conducting BPM exercises, one must therefore have a synergistic view.

    The number one problem with BPM today is that most of the practitioners are unable to understand the system viewpoint. The employees of the same business have conflicting objectives. Therefore a human resource professional may end up optimizing their process, but may have an adverse effect on the functioning of a marketing department. Thus problems are merely being shifted than actually being resolved. A good understanding of how the process connects to other activities and processes will help solve this problem and achieve sustainable progress.

  3. Decisions: There might be certain decisions which may have to be taken as the part of a process. Leaving the decisions up to the people involved has undesirable consequences. It is likely that in the absence of clear guidelines, the decisions taken by different people will be different. This will create inconsistent experiences for the customers and bring down quality.

    As an example consider a leave granting process in any big organization. There are explicit rules which define the number of leaves that a person can take as well as the procedure to get them approved. Thus although it may look like the manager is taking the decisions with regards to granting leave, all they are doing is following a pre-defined procedure. Thus no matter who the manager is, the decisions will always remain consistent because they are taken on the basis of rules rather than on the basis of who is involved. Such rules are usually laid down as if, then and else conditions in the process.

  4. Inputs: Until gives inputs, a process cannot function. The correct inputs are like the correct food for the process. Just like eating unhealthy food makes us unhealthy, giving wrong inputs makes the process unhealthy and inefficient. Here are some common inputs required by a process.

    • People: Processes require people with the correct aptitude and attitude. This is why breaking down of tasks is so important. In a process driven organization, you can arrange for an unskilled person to do the mundane jobs while a skilled person can be deployed to do the important jobs. Matching skills with task requirements brings down costs and increases efficiency.

    • Raw Material: Raw materials need to be made available in a timely manner and at least costs. There are companies which have built procurement processes as their core competencies.

    • Information: The correct information needs to be made available to all the entities in the process. The worker must have the skill and must be well versed with the procedure. The manager must get continuous feedback to ensure that the production is on target and as planned.

  5. Outputs: The outputs from the process must be continuously monitored. This will help in measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the process and suggesting changes as and when required.

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