Business Process Improvement Quick Guide

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1 Business Process Improvement Quick Guide A modern OPS delivers high-quality public services cost-effectively. To be a high performing organization we must continuously improve. On an ongoing basis, we must measure our performance and customer satisfaction (both internal and external) and continuously improve our performance. By improving the efficiency and effectiveness of processes, we can deliver goods and services that meet and exceed our customers expectations. Business process improvement is one of the tools that we can use to help us achieve our goals of being a high performing, modern OPS. What is a Process? A process is a sequence of logically related steps which combine to deliver something of value (such as products, service or information). What is Business Process Improvement? Business Process Improvement (BPI) is an approach organizations use to review and redesign an existing process or to design a new process. Typically, a work process consists of a series of actions or steps that produce a product or service. BPI is used to analyze the current way of doing things and to determine whether there is a better way to design how the work gets done and to implement changes where appropriate. The following provides an example of a mapped work process.

2 Why use Business Process Improvement To ensure that processes are clear, consistent and concise To reduce administrative burden, simplify processes and cut down on redundant activities and duplications To reduce costs, delivery time and improve performance To improve the effectiveness of the process in meeting the client s needs To clarify accountability and improve control To align the processes with strategic directions and goals When to use Business Process Improvement? Business Process Improvement can be used: As part of continuous improvement efforts To improve delivery to customers through lowering costs, shortening delivery times, delivering a better product or improving other aspects of performance in measurable ways To analyze how effective a current process is at meeting customer requirements To evaluate new technologies or tools that could automate or simplify a process To integrate new requirements into existing processes To design new processes from the "ground up To map and document best practices When the strategic goals, business model or organizational structure has changed, to align processes with the new situation Sketch out a new process that may provide a quantum leap in performance (as opposed to an incremental change) Critical Success Factors Stakeholder involvement Business Process Improvement team must include the process owner and people who are part of the process Communicate with all stakeholders before, during and after the process Strong, continual and increasing support from senior management Bottom up support Clear, measurable goals Defined performance measures Clearly defined roles and responsibilities Making it clear that process improvement is not about blaming or criticizing anyone Well-designed execution and continuous improvement plan Ongoing review of processes 2

3 How to Conduct a Business Process Improvement Step 1: Select the processes to be improved Step 2: Develop plan Step 3: Conduct assessment Step 4:Identify and select opportunities for improvement Step 5: Implement process improvement Step 6: Evaluate the new process Step 7: Institutionalize the new process Step 8: Continuous improvement Step 1: Select the process Step 2: Plan for the Process Improvement Stakeholder input and communication Step 3:Assessment Step 4: Opportunities for improvement Stakeholder input and communication Step 8: Continuous Improvement No Change the process Yes Step 5: Implement process improvement Step 6: Evaluate the new process Step 7: Institutionalize the changes 3

4 Step 1: Select the process Identify key processes in core business areas Processes that are candidates for Business Process Improvement can be identified based on management/staff feedback, client complaints, client survey results, performance measures not being met or processes where there is uncertainty about roles and responsibilities The process must be one that can be defined it must have an output/outcome and a beginning and an end. The selected processes should occur often enough to be observed and documented Prioritize processes according to their impact on clients and stakeholders Priority should be given to processes where improvement of the process is important to the business direction and strategy Evaluate if the process is really necessary it may not be needed at all rather than needing improvement RELATED TOOLS: BTO Gap Analysis Tip Sheet BTO Root Cause Analysis Tip Sheet Step 2: Develop the Plan Document the as is process before moving forward (make sure that what you document is really what currently happens in the process) A Business Process Improvement is a project project management tools should be used to define, plan, implement and monitor the project Consider whether the process improvement can be undertaken in-house. If you have a large, complex process or a critical project, you may need outside help Establish the Business Process Improvement Team - A key factor is that at least some of the people selected for the team must work on and be closely involved with the process being improved - Identify the process owner and ensure that they are part of the team - Appoint a team lead - Establish roles and responsibilities - Provide training for the team Set the context, scope and environment an environmental scan identifying the internal and external factors that have an effect on the process, clarifying the customer/client needs and positioning where the process fits in the broader organizational picture is useful for the process Establish the business process improvement goals - Answer the question: what improvements do we want to accomplish? (what is the desired outcome) - Identifying the problems associated with the process helps to define the goals - Goals should be measurable Communicate with clients/stakeholders (including all staff involved in the process) tell them about the rationale for the exercise and ask for their input. Changes to your process could affect their processes RELATED TOOLS: PMCoE Small Project Guide PMCoE Roles and Responsibilities BTO Environmental Scan Tip Sheet 4

5 Step 3: Assessment Collect information on the process through workshops/focus groups/surveys/employee inputs to: - Clearly define the process and where it starts and ends - Identify all major activities, inputs, outputs and decisions Define the process - The most effective way to define a process is to map it, creating a picture of each step in the process (note: a detailed description of process mapping is included at the end of this document) - Mapping should be of the total end-to-end process - Test the process map for completeness Collect baseline data so that you will have data to compare the process before and after the process improvement Establish performance measures for the improved process Analyze the process map - Is the process running the way it should be? - Are people following the process as mapped? - Are the people providing the services fully aware of and do they appreciate the customer/client needs - Is work being done that doesn t add value to the process? - Are there complexities and redundancies that can be reduced or eliminated? - Are there bottlenecks delaying the process? RELATED TOOLS: Sample Process Mapping (appendix) 5

6 Step 4: Opportunities for improvement What would an ideal process map for this process look like? How does it compare with the map of the current process? Are there reasons why the ideal process cannot be achieved? Are there parts of the process that are unnecessary? Identify and evaluate possible improvements Are there impacts on staff of possible changes? What plans are in place to deal with this? A change management strategy may be required. What are the training needs for implementing each possible solution? What are the costs of implementing each possible solution? What approvals are needed to implement each solution? Can a proposed solution be pilot tested? Does the proposed solution affect other processes? How will you obtain feedback on the solutions? Develop a process map for the improved process Have a feedback session with the stakeholders and clients to show them the proposed improved process and, ask for their inputs and get their feedback Review and revise the improved process until the owner and participants are satisfied Check whether the changes to your process will affect other processes (both your own and those of wider stakeholders). Adjust the process based on feedback, if appropriate RELATED TOOLS: Sample Process Map (appendix) Step 5: Implement process improvement Document the new process Get approvals, if necessary, for the process improvement Plan for the implementation of the process improvement including including any change management that is needed Ensure that plans are in place to deal with the impacts of changes to this process on other processes Train staff for implementation of new process Implement the process improvement Set standards for the new process Communicate changes with all stakeholders and clients 6

7 Step 6: Evaluate the new process Record observations and collect data on how the process is performing, delivery and whether it is achieving the intended results create a checksheet to organize the data Each time a specification/goal is not met, record it on the checksheet Compare the baseline data to the data from the new process Get feedback on the new process from those involved in the process and from customers Is the process improved? Were the expected results achieved? If there is a need, adjust the process You may want to do a Lessons Learned exercise to help with future Business Process Improvements RELATED TOOLS: BTO Lessons Learned Guides and Tip Sheets Step 7: Institutionalize the new process Fully implement the new process as standard Monitor the process to ensure that it is consistently applied and is working Step 8: Continuous improvement Regularly look at your processes to see if there are opportunities for improvement or changes to the environment that require changes to your process For more information contact: Business Transformation Office Modernization Division 375 University Avenue 5 th floor Toronto ON M5G 2J5 (416) Intranet:: 7

8 Resources/ Documents reviewed: Ministry of Labour. Process Improvement Toolkit. July 15, National Quality Institute. A Five Step Roadmap for Improving a Process US Navy. Handbook for Basic Process Improvement. US Army. CPI Tools. NHS Modernisation Agency. Process Mapping, Analysis and Redesign. %20for%20Improvement/1/1.2PM.pdf Ministry of Health and Long-term Care Business Improvement Office. Process Mapping Tip Sheet HR Service Delivery Transformation. Business Process Review Framework. Novare Consulting. Business Process Development A Handbook for Users Northumberland County Council Harmon, Paul. Business Process Change A Manager s Guide to Improving, Redesigning and Automating Processes. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

9 Glossary of Terms Business Process Improvement: Business Process Improvement focuses on incrementally improving existing processes. Business Process Architecture: A process architecture is a written or diagrammatic summary of the value chains and business processes supported by a given organization. Business Process Architecture is often used to describe a high-level architecture of all of the processes in the organization. Business Process Design or Redesign: Business Process Design focuses on making major changes in an existing process or creating a new process. Business Process Reengineering: In the early 1990s, Business Process Reengineering (BPR) emphasized starting with a blank sheet and completely reconceptualizing major business processes to obtain breakthrough improvements in performance. By the late 1990s, BPR became unpopular as a term. People who use the term now have usually redefined it to be equivalent to Business Process Design (see above). Business Process Management: Business Process Management (BPM) is often used to refer to various automation efforts with the emphasis being on using computers to control process flows, measure process or change process flows. Business process management (lowercase) can also be used to refer to aligning processes with organizational goals and educating managers so that they will manage processes effectively. Six Sigma: A movement, method, and set of techniques focused on improving business processes. Relies heavily on statistical techniques to measure success. There are multiple Six Sigma methods, some designed for process improvements and some for designing or redesigning business processes. Lean Manufacturing or Lean Office: An approach to designing and managing processes that emphasizes minimal inventory and just-in-time delivery to improve the efficiency of a process. ISO9000: An international standard for how organizations should document their processes. 9

10 Business Process Maturity Model Continuous process improvement is enabled by quantitative feedback from processes and from piloting new ideas Detailed measures of process and product quality are collected and used 4: Managed 5: Optimizing Organizations at this level routinely expect managers and employees to work together to improve processes Processes are documented, standardized and integrated by an organization-wide methodology 3: Defined Only a few organizations have an organization-wide understanding of how processes relate and have their corporate goals linked to process goals Basic processes are established. The necessary discipline is in place to repeat earlier successes Processes are ad hoc. Few activities are explicitly defined and success depends on individual effort and heroics 1: Initial 2: Repeatable Most organizations are between levels 2 and 3. They have processes documented and standardized but management goals are often only loosely linked to process goals As organizations become more mature they begin to conceptualize business process and seek to organize them, repeat successes, and measure results Entrepreneurial organizations and divisions often do things any way they can to get started Adapted from: Harmon, Paul. Business Process Change A Manager s Guide to Improving, Redesigning and Automating Processes. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

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