Organizing your business processes
An article by Shyamal Addanki, Director NA
Often, I come across questions that vaguely allude to the confusing concept of misplaced focus on BPM within an organization – or, to put it more succinctly – many people seem confused about where they should champion process management. Is it something that resides within the boardroom at the business executive level? Is it something that process owners monitor on the operational level? Or, is it something that management drives within their specific disciplines?
The answer lies in the nomenclature. Business Process Management is a discipline that impacts all levels, from the business leaders through to the process owners and the line managers.
To make it easier to understand how it can cut across all levels, we can look at BPM from a top-down approach.
Enterprise Map: This is an overarching view of the organisation and all the different departments involved. Elements could include core activities such as sales and manufacturing, as well as support functions such as human resources and finance.
Process Map: For each department identified in the Enterprise Map, a Process Map specifies all the procedures that are governed by the specific department. For example, HR would list all the HR specific process from personnel requisition to employee reviews and conflict management.
Value Chain: For each procedure, a value chain specifies the end-to-end logical activities that need to happen for that procedure to be complete. For example, a personnel requisition value chain might start with the request for additional resources, and finish with a completed training plan.
Process Model: For each element in a value chain, there is a detailed physical process model in a classic flowchart, that specifies how the activities are performed. For example, a personnel requisition process could start with a request from a hiring manager and end with approvals from HR and Finance to source a candidate.
Process Step: Some process models could include a process step that merely details an element, or a sub-process. For example, an internal check within a department before continuing with external approvals to post a job ad on a public forum.
Work Instruction: Process steps could have specific documentation that is required to complete the task; this can include checklists, templates, or work instructions. These documents are typically used by the final end-user or a process, for example a standard form to post a job ad when hiring a new candidate.
These classifications can be separated down the middle to reflect what an organization does (Enterprise Map, Process Map, Value Chain) and how it does it (Process Model, Process Step, Work Instruction.)
Therefore, Business Process Management is really about understanding how to take disparate, disorganized, and disjointed processes and organize them in a meaningful way – ideally nesting your processes as per the graphic – that makes it easier to understand how an organization’s operations are summation of numerous successful processes in harmony.
Any BPM tool worth its salt should provide an easy way to map, organize, and link your processes using this process nesting principle. If you cannot model your processes using this principle, it’s time to check out FireStart.
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