Where does your company fall on the process maturity curve? Find out so you can lead process improvement efforts.
Part one of a series.
Many companies feature disparate business processes acting in a seemingly inefficient and uncontrolled manner. In these environments, automation can actually be a hindrance, serving to drive poor results in a quicker manner.
Other companies have broader end-to-end processes aligned with the organization’s goals. Even in these cases, there are opportunities to further improve specific processes and overall process capabilities.
Before Embarking on a Process Excellence Journey
But, before you decide to embark on process excellence or business process improvement initiatives, you should consider:
- What has already been attempted – and how successful or “sticky” were those efforts?
- What are the structures, including organizations, people, technologies, controls, performance measures in which the business processes operate?
- How can owners and users understand and improve their processes and supporting structures?
- Is the business striving to be a “process driven organization” or have “high-performing processes?”
- Or is the business simply interested in implementing a new – or redesigning an outdated – process?
- What should the boundaries be? (Where should one start, what are the next steps, and what is the finish line?)
Regardless of the current status of your process excellence activities, it can be a challenge to determine what, how and where to direct internal and external improvement capabilities and resources. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start.
How do you make progress and show improvement when there are more opportunities for improvement than there are hours in the day? How do you convince budget decision-makers to invest in process improvement projects against technology improvements? How do you combat the ever-present “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality?
Identify Firm’s Level along Process Excellence Curve
We recommend starting your process improvement initiative by understanding where you are today to help better define your vision for tomorrow. Using the Process Maturity Model below can be the catalyst to direct your improvement efforts and move your company further along the process excellence curve.
Complete a simple self-analysis to determine where your company currently stands on the curve. Then set goals for where you would like to be in the future. And develop a framework to achieve your goals.
Evaluate your Organization’s Process Maturity
By evaluating your organization’s “Process Maturity,” you can identify the firm’s strengths and gaps. Not all structural competencies will be at the same level of maturity. Identify lagging competencies to facilitate process excellence and foster successful business process improvement and management initiatives.
This process maturity model can be applied at any level of the organization (single process, division, or entire company). It can also be applied at the department level, but will generally result in a high number of level 1 and 2 ratings since this level typically is not cross-functional.
By understanding the company’s process maturity and its supporting organizations, leaders and owners can determine the best approach to initiate process excellence efforts.
Is Process Excellence Right for My Organization?
Process excellence is not a fit for all organizations. For example, a company lacking documented processes, assigned process owners, an overarching implementation approach, and aligned IT teams would be challenged to successfully and cost-effectively implement a business process management solution without initially – or in parallel – addressing lagging competencies.
Remember, these improvements take time. Experience shows that moving your organization up one level across all process excellence competencies typically requires a 6-to-18-month organizational commitment. But smaller improvements in specific processes can be achieved throughout this time frame.
Leveraging the Process Maturity Model as your first step will allow you to “Think Big, Start Small, and Act Quickly.” It will help you define where you are today and what it will take to achieve your process excellence goals.