A process model provides the context for all work on processes. But, importantly, it also encourages senior managers to have conversations about their roles as Process Owners. Engaging the senior team in developing the top-level model usually results in:
- Greater clarity about the purpose of each process and its contribution to the organisation
- Clear definition of boundaries and dependencies between key processes
- An understanding of the need for Process Owners and Process Managers and their role in driving performance improvement
- A clear set of priorities and targets for process management
For many public and voluntary sector organisations, particularly for those striving to become more competitive, an understanding of how a private sector business would define its process model can be useful. It can challenge them to think about what “product or service development” and “winning business” means to them.
Without the understanding that a process model brings, your process improvement activity can only ever be tactical. The risk is that you simply carry out a series of improvement projects without seeing the big picture and without making the connections across the processes that really add value.
The process model enables you to make a clear link between the performance improvements you are trying to achieve and the processes which contribute to that performance.
For those interested in activity costing, a process model also provides a robust framework for doing “bottom-up” costing and really understanding where cost and value is added. In theory, you could adopt Michael Porter’s approach and aggregate all your activity costs up into the top-level processes and make some judgements about value for money.
So, if you’re serious about Process Management, develop a top-level process model with your senior management team. The fact that they have developed it will mean it has ownership and they can readily ensure the rganisation’s performance improvement initiatives are properly aligned with key processes.
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