BPI Project Walk Through - Understanding People and Process

Business Process Improvement projects are ideally suited for every business operation, especially to augment the process efficiency, to implement process changes and to take the business operations to the next level and meet with the Business demands and Customer expectations.

For any BPI project to be successful, the leadership and the ownership of the Business Head concerned as well as the senior management is essential. Only when the sponsorship of the BPI project demonstrated and communicated by the senior management, do the employees get aligned to the objective of the project and the BPI team will be able to move ahead.

Process Mapping

Once the EIT (Executive Implementation Team) & PIT (Process Improvement Team) teams have been formed, trained in BPI Concepts and equipped with the tools to help them with problem solving can the ball be set rolling. The PIT team members would start the work with capturing the process in ‘AS IS’ condition. The process details would need to be captured in detail and mapping using flow charts that best depict the entire process.

Process Walk Through & Review

The next significant phase of the project begins with understanding and review of the process in detail with reference to its characteristics. Process flow, effectiveness, efficiency and the cycle time are the basic process characteristics that the process has to be measured in the current situation. Apart from the above characteristics, the process would need to be measured on other parameters such as quality of output, cost of output and any other measure that is specific and relevant to the business operation on hand.

Process Documentation Review

The process review would need to be done in detail by walking through the process and examining each and every task in minutest detail as well as checking the process documentation to identify the discrepancies and gap between the process that is currently being followed with reference to the detail given in the process documentation.

‘People’ Dimension of the Process

It is not enough if the PIT team captures the process using flow chart, examines the tasks in detail and reviews the documentation. They might measure and map the current process using the process characteristics to peg the process at a base line. However most importantly, the process has to be reviewed with reference to the most important resource that is instrumental to the process which happens to be the ‘People’ who make the process work.

At this stage, it is important for the PIT team to recognize that the Organizations as well as Business operations are not about procedure, documentation, infrastructure, systems and targets, but it is the people who make things happen. People are the drivers of the process and every individual is different. With each individual being unique in terms of their skill sets, attitude, understanding and capabilities, the process is subject to variations.

Once the ‘People’ dimension has been understood and assimilated into the process mapping or understanding, the PIT team can better understand the dynamics of what makes the process works, understand the problems and identify the root causes better.

In many cases, the problems can often be very simple to solve. Process may not have been understood by the individuals or the individuals concerned may not be aware of what is expected of them. In such cases, training the people concerned can improve the process efficiency and solve major problems. There are be several other reasons relating to people that can be the cause of process inefficiency. When a group of people are working in tandem on a single process, a non-alignment or misbalancing of the required skill sets of the individuals can hamper the process output. There can be other practical reasons like language problems, absence of right infrastructure or tools etc that may not have been noticed by the supervisors and hence the process output might suffer.

Spending more time with the people involved in the process, understanding the various dimensions involving people and viewing the process along with the human element and dimension can help the team immensely in problem identification area.

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