Make Processes Actionable for your Employees (with Minit 4.0)
Are your business processes actionable? Can you prove it if required? Business processes are only as good as your employees’ ability to carry them out. What happened the last time someone called in sick? Did any business processes grind to a halt? Or did a coworker easily step in and pick up the slack? If the former sounds closer to your company, it may be because your business processes aren’t well documented or transparent enough to be easily actionable.
By working from event logs left behind by most IT systems, process mining creates a map of your business processes in their current “as-is” state. This map can then be used to develop and plan your business process strategy. An example outline of this baseline creation and strategy building process may look something like this:
- Run process mining software: This will create your initial process map, the source of insights and data you’ll be using for the rest of this project.
- Document the as-is state: Use the map to document the current state of your business processes. This documentation can include charts, graphs, outlines, and any graphic representations that you find helpful for visualizing your processes.
- Design updates: Using the documentation you just created, you can now begin to design process updates and modifications.
- Document the updates: Of course, for any updates you roll out, you’ll update your documentation. The documentation library you create at this step will become your process library later. A process library ensures future employees have access to all of the process data they’ll need to keep the business running smoothly.
- Restart the design and update process: You’ll do this for each of the business processes that you’ve identified as needing to be reworked.
- Use dashboards for continuous monitoring: Dashboards are the quickest, easiest way for your employees to access real-time data on business processes.
BPM software can be a huge help
Once your process mining has generated a baseline, it’s time to implement Business Process Management software. This suite of tools is what will allow you to easily create your process library, as well as enabling future analysis of the data coming out of your process mining operations.
ProTip: Be sure to create the underlying structure for your process library before moving any documentation over. This will ensure your library is easily parsable by software, as well as maintaining searchability for your employees. If you’re unsure about what this would look like, go to the Site map for your company website. The hierarchical structure you see there is equivalent to what you’ll want to create for your process library.
Setting up an intuitive folder structure is key here. When you map and document the process for incoming IT trouble tickets, for example, you’ll want to store that documentation under something like:
Operations > IT > Support > Incoming ticket process
That way, when IT has a new employee and they need to learn how the company wants incoming tickets handled, they can find it quickly and easily.
Communication is key
All the process improvement in the world isn’t worth much if nobody knows about it, right? That’s why this section is right here in the middle, communication bridges the gap between the process analysis you’re doing, and the rest of your company who need to act on it.
When it comes to communication, you can’t have enough. Tell people what your project is about, then tell them when you have a phase complete. Then, tell them when the whole thing is ready and you’re open to feedback. By inviting feedback from the people responsible for acting on the processes you’re documenting, you give them the visibility they need to get started.
This process of communicating every step of your project will help eliminate information silos as well. When it comes to process knowledge, redundancy is not a bad word. If somebody leaves their position, or is even just out on leave for a week, having communicated the process and where to find the documentation for full details means that another person can step in and ensure that process is completed with minimal interruption.
This stage is another in which dashboard access comes as key. When employees can open a webpage and have instant access to a detailed process map, metrics, and reporting, they have what they need to act on that process.
About that documentation, it’s fundamental
What should you document? Well, everything. The process library you’re building in your BPM software is a repository for all of the process knowledge in your company. This is how you ensure that each and every business process is, and will remain, actionable. This is where you’ll store process maps, outlines, instructions, SOPs, KPIs, and all other documentation that relates to your business processes.
This transparency leads to a company culture of documenting and sharing processes. Completing a process library also helps prevent the development of information silos. When everyone in the department knows where to find instructions on a process, it will no longer matter if there is an unexpected absence or if a key person transfers to a different department. The rest of the team can easily refer to the process library and pick up the slack.
Iterate process changes for better results
Processes can be made even more actionable when you iterate changes. This means you modify small aspects of the process, and then evaluate the impact of those changes before moving to the next change. Incrementally introducing changes, then verifying results via dashboards, ensures everyone can keep up. Thus eliminating slowdowns or bottlenecks while someone farther down the process chain is brought up to speed.
Additional benefits to iterating process changes include:
- Small, individual changes are easier to monitor via your process mining dashboard.
- The insight obtained from each small change can assist in determining the direction chosen for the next set of changes.
- Moving more slowly allows for documentation to be updated, and communications to go out, as you progress rather than all at once at the end.
It may help to think of process mining as a tool to tell your business process story. If you want the processes to be actionable, your employees need to know:
- The backstory: That is, the data used in creating the baseline data map.
- Character development: This consists of the documentation in the process library.
- Plot development: The iteration process.
- The happy ending: Finally the results of all this work, the streamlined, bottleneck-free, easily replicable business processes.
By making your business processes more transparent and documenting everything in an accessible way, you guarantee actionable processes. Next time an employee is absent, you’ll see no more than a slight hiccup in the processes that person works on because the steps will be easily handled by a coworker.
Register for the Minit 4.0 Launch Webinar, to get insights from the expert panel on how this can impact your business.
It starts with process mining.
Jana Gregusova Process Consulting Leader at Minit
09. 05. 2019