Project Practitioners > Process Management - A Hitchhiker's Guide

Process Management - A Hitchhiker's Guide

By Matt Glei

I've spent big chunks of my time over the years building good product development, quality system and business processes. I've always believed that a solid, well-thought-out business or development process added value, not bureaucracy, because it was based on actual experience and often included the best (known) practices for the process at hand.

Some of the challenges of specifying a process are to understand the business goals, any external compliance requirements and the desired or required outcome. Usually the members working on a process first need to model the existing process, then determine the "holes" in or issues with the process, and then craft an improved process that fills those gaps or resolves the issues.

All that sounds easy, but I’ve observed that the teams need to include process experts, as well as the users or customers of the system. The person leading the effort needs to make sure that every step adds value or supports required compliance, preferably both. The result should be practical, useful, and effective.

Once the team has solved "the problem," it must also decide how to document the process, how to train users and customers of the process in the new process and then deploy all the tools needed to document and execute the process.

One item often forgotten by the team doing the work is explaining the new process and steps and tools to the broad base of users as part of the training, and by this I mean the "whys" as well as the "how-to." Another item often passed over is how new people joining the company will be trained quickly, efficiently and effectively.

Sometimes the new process is introduced with big fanfare, major hours go into the initial deployment and training, and then the documents go on a binder on the shelf. Then the binder gathers dust and ultimately becomes a "tombstone."

Good deployment and management of the process knowledge can prevent this and make knowing about and using the process much easier. There are new tools available and under development that can help deploy the processes and also manage the process knowledge on an on-going basis.

I hope to write future blogs on how these tools work and how much they can help.

-- Matt Glei,

Related Links
When designing a new process, make sure you understand business process modeling techniques. Context diagrams are also helpful. When you're ready, these guidelines can help with Conducting a Gap Analysis.

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