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Change Management, Process Improvement, Processes, Six Sigma, Uncategorized

The people side of process improvement

Two articles in a BPTrends Newsletter (www.BPTrends.com) caught my eye and highlight the importance of “people” in Process Improvement.Process Model

Human Processes: Discovering Collaboration discusses the differences between collaborative processes and step by step processes. I’ve previously written about these and referred to them as “Emergent” and “Routine” processes. The article explains why traditional analytical techniques fall short in analysing collaborative processes and offers a few pointers on how to analyse these processes.

Step by step (Routine) processes can be defined, standardised and documented to quite low levels of detail (if necessary).  They are often very transaction-focussed, such as “Pay Suppliers”, “Process Customer Order” or “Prepare Monthly Accounts”.

Collaborative (Emergent) processes, by contrast, are much more dependent on the knowledge and skills of the people operating them to decide exactly which activities need to take place and in what order.  Usually, they can only (sensibly) be defined at a relatively high level.  Examples might include: “Develop Business Strategy”, “Manage External Communications” and “Conduct New Product Research”. The BPTrends article explains a “Collaboration Plan” as an appropriate tool, which I’d agree with and has similarities with Adaptive Case Management which I’ve also written about before.

Download my article here to understand these two types of process and the need for Intelligent Process Owners.

The second article Process Improvement: Behavioral Methods Applied to Lean Six Sigma discusses the behavioural side of Process Improvement. It highlights specific places where typical Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) projects could be modified or supplemented to identify and address behavioural matters.

workshops and bau - dmaicOne of the most significant parts of the article is the commentary that the majority of 6-Sigma training (e.g. Yellow, Green and Black Belts) contains very little on Change Management. It should, therefore, come as no surprise when 6-Sigma efforts stall. However expert the “belts” may be in the tools and techniques, if they don’t understand how to help the organisation create sustainable change or how individuals react to change, any 6-Sigma effort is unlikely to be much more than a “technical exercise”.

Read about my favourite Change Models and a simple approach to change.

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