How to ensure your BPM initiative is successful

Published on Tuesday 13 November 2012 by in News with no comments

GamingWorks together with its BPM partners have held a series of Business Process Management (BPM) sessions using the business simulation ‘The Greatest Move’. The aim of the sessions were to let people see, feel and experience the success and fail factors of implementing BPM.

During the simulation a team of participants become a removal company for a day. World Wide Movers, a company that transports anything and everything around the world using its own Aircraft or working together with its suppliers. The team is presented with the business strategy and goals and must design and implement their own business processes to realize the business strategy.  At the start of the simulation each of the teams designed their processes, agreed working practices and the goals to be achieved. The simulation started and the work soon became chaotic. Customer requests went missing or were left unanswered, deals were lost. Aircraft left half empty. Costs were escalating, Customer satisfaction was plummeting. Revenue goals and market share targets were not being realized. The teams experienced chaos, lack of insight and ability to steer their processes. There was anger, frustration, disappointment and motivation was dropping. It was not a great working atmosphere within World Wide Movers, and the shareholders were less than happy.

The worrying thing is that all the delegates were either BPM experts or employees responsible for certain parts of the BPM initiatives within their own companies. So the question is, why is it so difficult to organize business processes and implement them?

We then helped the teams reflect and analyse their BPM approach to designing, implementing and executing their processes. The team identified improvements in approach to Process design and agreed new ways of streamlining and steering their processes to ensure the Key performance targets were achieved. The majority of teams succeeded in turning around the performance of World Wide Movers. Customer satisfaction was improved, costs were reduced, market share and revenue improved. People were ‘owning’ their own roles and responsibilities, there was more communication and feedback, people were happy and motivated…..if only we could make THIS type of turn around in our own  Organizations said one delegate.

Learning points

The purpose of the sessions wasn’t just to have fun and experience BPM in action. The purpose was to help discover HOW somebody could learn to make the same improvements within their OWN organization.

The learning points detailed below are the results of the question: “Based upon your experiences today, what would you say are the top 3 success factors for making BPM work?”

We did not give any classification items or subjects to reflect upon. The following classifications were made based upon the analysis and consolidation of responses.

These were the learning points named:

Success factor  Chosen
End-to-end Design with everybody from the supply chain, using each other’s expertise. Use the employees to analyze and identify the bottlenecks and problems in the process. Ensure everybody is aware of dependencies. What is the effect on others if I….
Be pro-active and approach others with an aim of improving working practices. Help each other, but don’t try to do the other persons work.
11
Facilitation Ensure you have coaching with process delivery. The need for good facilitation.  Good preparation of work involving everybody, under the leadership of a discussion leader. 11
Customer focus Begin the process from the Customer’s perspective and needs. Make processes ‘Lean’, get rid of wastage and create Customer Value. Make choices as to which activities deliver VALUE for the chain, remove ones that don’t. 11
Tasks, Roles, responsibilities Clearly defined and accepted tasks & responsibilities for all employees. Two way expectations (between managers and employees). An agreement is an Agreement and must be adhered to 10
Information & communication Information is central. Ensuring that it is usable, timely, accurate, accessible and trustworthy. Ensure the Administrative Organization is also implemented. Clear communication between process steps and within a process step. 9
Buy-in & Commitment Ensure buy-in and commitment as basis for improvements. The need for enthusiastic employees and leadership to facilitate this. Ensure shared objectives are clearly defined and agreed. Implementation means translating the ‘arrows’ and ‘boxes’ from process design work into ‘heads’, making the process clear, shared and committed to. 9
Continual Improvement.Evaluate with everybody within the supply chain. After implementing perform a timely first evaluation. Use a standard defined process, Discuss and agree the  bottlenecks in the process.. Reflect on the hard aspects but also the soft (people) aspects, ‘How do you feel about this?’. Identify buy-in and commitment. Identify small improvement steps with clear goals. 9
Standard methods & tools Clear, unambiguous agreements, codes, forms. 8
Steering Define KPI’s and use them to steer. KPI’s related to the strategy map. Communicate these and embed them in People, Process and Technology (information). Ensure you are aware of the status of your performance (KPI) don’t wait until the end of a period. 6
Process overview Ensure first of all that you have a high level overview of the processes, start with a well defined process overview and use this. 5
Standard and repeatable processes Working with standard products/processes to avoid specials and make things repeatable 4
Testing Simulate and test processes. 3
PolicyCreate clear conditions and guidelines to facilitate process delivery and execution. Clear escalation routes if the process isn’t working. 3
Process ownersOne Responsible/Accountable process owner. Remove the co-ordination from the line (embed in process) 2
Need to changeOnly change or improve if there is a real need or urgency for change. 2

Conclusions

Both the customers and the Vendors organizations involved felt that the most critical success factor is designing with everybody from the chain being involved. End-to-end design. Doing it together.

The second highest success factor from the customers was focused on ‘facilitation’. Doing process improvement themselves with a facilitator. The Customer organizations discovered that they didn’t need external expertise to come and design processes, they can do that using their business knowledge, what they value is external facilitation. Number 3 for the customer organizations doing it for the business. The need to relate BPM to customer value. It seems that BPM organizations face the same types of struggles as ITSM process improvement initiatives. The need to involve the end-to-end chain, let people design their own processes and focus on the results to be achieved.

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