Another question for you - have you mapped your processes recently?
I’m not talking about do you have mapped processes for your ISO 9001 Quality Management System from five years ago, I’m talking about a process being mapped in the last six months.
Warts and all
Also, there are two kinds of map – the ideal process and the real process.
So, in clarifying my second question, have you mapped your real processes in the last six months?
Real process maps include things like:
- Rework loops.
- Points of concern / irritation.
- All of the steps required to complete one ‘ideal’ step.
It’s warts and all.
Improvements jump out
This is why so many businesses don’t say yes to the first question – once they map out their real process (and not a sterilised version) improvements leap out.
That is not to say that the original process was flawed, circumstances change and documented processes often lag behind either what is required, or what is happening.
If you don’t already have a recent warts and all process map, an accompanying ‘Future State Map’ and an action plan to close the gap between the two then I recommend taking a time out to do so.
It doesn’t take long to map out a process, but the rewards for doing so can be enormous.
Embrace the journey
Don’t worry if you find yourself getting into an argument about the correct mapping out of the process steps; this is just a sign that you have a process that is broken and needs to be repaired. It is part of the journey to achieving a higher performing process.
It’s definitely worth the investment in time, just don’t forget the action plan or the new way of working won’t become a reality.
About the author
Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes.
Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.