Now this is not a post supporting lengthy, ‘must document the business’ navel gazing exercises. This is more an observation on the typical type of information an organisation will gather to support a process improvement project. As a vendor I am not sure how many times I have been handed a ‘process flow’ either representing the ‘as is’ or ‘to be’ state expected. The pertinent information that ultimately determines the success of an ensuing project is missing. The ‘process flow’ itself is too one dimensional.
Getting this information is usually the first step in an engagement using structured methods to address gaps and deliver outcomes. Next we work with a business to enable it to use these methods so that the cost of future engagements are minimised. The methods themselves can also ensure process improvements are more effectively understood, prioritised and selected.
So without every business having a ‘business analyst’, without engaging specialist resources, what can most businesses use to gather understanding and determine requirements more effectively and efficiently?
I am a fan of the technique, IDEF 0. Ignore its ugly name which I share just for those who like to google and dig deeper.
Just go with my simple depiction below.
This diagram describes the details you are seeking to expose. What you place in the middle can be anything from a single step to a whole organisation; from the production of a key ingredient, to the machinations of a whole burger fast food chain. There are other techniques that complement this, for another post another day, but add this to a typical ‘process flow’ and you raise the bar on understanding and communicating objectives and outcomes for any improvement project.