Process Identification, Prioritization, Documentation and Opportunity Analysis
Centric’s thought leadership and project management expertise creates a powerful approach to creating process documentation and identifying improvement opportunities.
Our client, a large international financial services firm, endeavored to create a more standardized, process-driven approach to training for operational roles. Process-driven operational roles were not well documented by the client, nor were they documented in a way that was easy for a new user to follow independently. In addition, training for new employees in these roles was not standardized, and much of it required one-on-one training sessions with current employees, which was a drain on productivity. Moreover, due to the lack of process documentation, there was a risk of losing institutional knowledge during periods of employee turnover.
Our client decided to improve the situation by creating a comprehensive training approach for operational roles within the firm. The new approach identified (prioritize) key processes, which were measured by number of assets processed, number of employees involved and degree of learning difficulty. These processes were documented in a standardized format and then converted into a training program that allowed new employees to conduct a large amount of their training using an online, self-learning approach.
The goals of the new training approach:
- Increase early productivity from new employees
- Reduce involvement from current front-line employees in the training of others
- Improve employee contextual knowledge in terms of overall financial services processes
- Identify process best practices
- Document institutional process knowledge
Our client engaged Centric to lead the work of process identification, prioritization and documentation for the new training program. The client team was not experienced in leading large project efforts involving dozens of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and team leaders across several business units. As a result, Centric was able to provide value not only by documenting key processes, but also by providing critical project management skills. Specifically, Centric took the lead in providing the client an unmatched experience by developing a methodology for quantifying and prioritizing which processes to include in the overarching training program and developing a process for educating impacted business unit leaders and their teams in advance of documentation in their areas.
The client was also impressed by Centric’s ability to partner with SMEs in a new documentation area and quickly understand and document those processes. Moreover, Centric provided value-added benefit by developing a log of prioritized and scoped process opportunities that was reviewed each week with the client.
Challenges and Resolution
The largest challenge the team encountered was the difficulty of getting the client to articulate clearly what the expected number of documented processes should be at the end of the project. The client’s processing center included a large number of processes and the client’s mentality was to document as much as possible during the scoped project period; an open-ended commitment that felt a bit uncomfortable given our strong project management perspective. To head off any potential end-of-project disappointment by the client in this regard, we had an open and honest conversation with them about our perspective and the desire to scope out an expected volume of work. The client appreciated us taking the lead and together we were able to develop an end-of-project volume estimate.
The other challenge Centric faced was the management of large numbers of SMEs from across the various process teams. Our tasks included introducing them to the project, scheduling their time and partnering with them to understand and document their process thoroughly. The challenges the team faced with the large number of SMEs included: lack of SME availability, last minute SME cancellations, lack of interest in providing the needed level of detail and inability to articulate what they do to someone from outside their organization. Centric delivered an unmatched experience for the client by working professionally and patiently with the SMEs to obtain the needed process details and to understand pain points and opportunities for process improvement. Centric resolved many of these issues by clearly articulating the time commitment and scheduling expectations to SMEs and their managers using a short presentation.
By the conclusion of the project, Centric had documented more than 80 core processes, which exceeded our client’s target. The client truly felt we had delivered an unmatched experience during the project and wanted to keep us engaged even longer (they were unable to do so for budget reasons). Specifically, the client highlighted the volume of completed process documents, the quality of the documents produced, and the identification of best practices and process opportunities as reasons to partner with Centric again. Our client also highlighted our soft skill strengths; such as the overall quality of our project management skills and the team’s personalities and positive attitudes as valuable reasons to re-engage Centric in the future. In conclusion, the benefits the client received with the development of their training program include: