We already went over the basic concept of process improvement, but now we’re going to get a little more practical and start giving you ideas on how to improve your business process.
To begin with, we’ll revise, revisit and introduce you to a couple of new concepts (all pretty much self-explanatory) you must have in mind when considering bringing your business processes to a new light:
- Business process improvement: the act of making internal processes better (as we pointed out here, it’s all a matter of refocusing on what really matters);
- Business process simplification: the act of making internal processes easier (for all those involved in it, so everyone must be involved in the simplification process);
- Business process alignment: the act of making sure your internal processes are in line with each other (aka making sure your entire business works as a well oiled machine).
Why should you improve your business process (or at least worry about it):
People are continuously looking for ways to develop improved and simplified processes within their organisations, independent of their business. Keeping processes at a constant spotlight will improve your company’s ability to respond to events, as fast and as effectively as possible, as well as help you eliminate all forms of excess and waste by eliminating unnecessary procedures and work and through standardisation of the remaining steps.
Simplifying a process means leave outside of it all sort of unnecessary information that just makes the process heavy and overcomplicated: through the use of just-in-time processes and constant workflow management you’ll make sure you’re working with processes with the right size and speed.
Your goal must be to align all your processes seamlessly, without the formation of bottlenecks or bumps on the road. A continuous business process can be achieved through process optimisation, thinking lean about every aspect of work and being able to respond quickly to changes, redesigning and transforming the way you work every time the circumstances ask for it.
How can you engage people towards improving:
The simplest and fastest way of doing so is showing people their input is valued and taken into consideration, not only towards processes in their own area, but in the whole company. Every person in a company should feel the responsibility to optimize and improve their business processes, whether they see an opportunity of doing so within or outside of their team, it’s not really what matters.
People should be encouraged towards making decisions so they’ll be more prone to start improving. By giving people the space and liberty to make suggestions without fear of reprehension, and also to work to improve their own processes, they’ll be more and more likely to want to improve continuously.
What can you do to improve your business process:
People in general are very good at having ideas, getting all idealistic about them, starting to implement it…but not so good about finishing (and if you just gave made little “yeah, I do that” frown, don’t worry, most of us are procrastinators at heart).
To make sure failed idealism and procrastination will not get the best of your team, here are a few ideas of what you can do to make business process improvement work:
1. Focus, focus, focus!
Limit the number of improvement initiatives being considered for implementation – limiting the work in progress (learn more about how Kanban can help you do this here) you’ll be able to see that the task is done from end to end, as well as make clear how important they are. Pipefy’s Templates are a great way to use Kanban in a uncomplicated way to help you manage your tasks and limit the work in progress;
2. Detailed plans:
Ensure that not a single process improvement initiative will be started without having a clear plan submitted with all the necessary details, such as due dates, deliverables and accountability;
3. Don’t start a task without finishing the previous:
As told in nr.1, limit the work in progress and make sure a new improvement initiative can only be started when the previous one is finalised within the agreed-upon time and budget;
4. Talk (a lot) about it:
Talk to everyone on your team, constantly and continuously, about the how important it is to improve your business process, as well as keeping them updated on the status of the initiatives.
5. Standards and procedures:
Introduce standards and procedures to ensure the quality of the improvement initiatives. Make these topics of regular discussion together with the initiative status.
6. Plan properly:
Adopt a tool that best suits your needs in order to help you keep track of your improvement initiatives.
Need help keeping track of your improvement initiatives?
Pipefy’s Product Roadmap Template is a very good option if you’re looking for an easy to use, simple tool, that can be adapted to your company’s needs. This template will help you prioritise your features by following the best practices of product management.
From defining the type of improvement to advanced measurement of impact on your goals, this is the Template you’ve been looking for.