== 1. How can I Improve the Flow? ==
Indeed, It’s a broad question.
However, even today, it is often asked in that manner.
“I barely even understand what’s the problem in the work procedure!”
The term ‘flow’ here, is to be understood as something like
– Estimate for Prospective customers
– Inquiries from existing customers
– Deliverables from Outsourcing,etc..
=== 1-1. First of all, be “Seriously” Concerned! ===
# Someone might get upset but…
It is truly my personal impression, but there are too many people who are not ‘Serious’.
– Excuse A, ‘I don’t know about the work well…’
– Excuse B, ‘I don’t have time…’
– Excuse C, ‘I’m not good with computers…’
These are the three worst excuses of the ‘Cloud age’. What they have in common is that they assume ‘It’s normal not to be able to do it’.
Well, I could agree that it might be OK for a ‘New employee’ or even a ‘seasoned employee’. However, if a manager excuses him/herself, by saying ‘I’m not good with computers…’, people around him or her should better be thinking about getting rid of him or her.
The first step for business process Improvement is to be “seriously concerned”.
IT is just a tool. What is important is not the knowledge of IT itself, but rather ‘the knowledge of the business in the company’ is what is truly essential. I bet it’s true that “the progression of the work” can only be changed by “those who understand the progression of the work”.
Let’s be seriously concerned about ‘the progression of the work’, first.
=== 1-2. Take a Grasp of the Current Situation! ===
To understand, to measure, to monitor. . . (Well, anything is O.K.)
If you want to improve ‘the progression of the work’ (Business Process), you’ll need to understand the [Current Situation].
You don’t have to rely on IT anyway. (I’ll be happy if you do…)
You can use paper and a pencil, or marbles or coins… Anything is fine, but you must at least understand the following:
(1) Which route flows down? (Flow diagram)
(2) How many outputs come out? (Number of the deliverables)
== 2. Now, let’s start Improving the Business Process! ==
So, how can you start ‘the first step’ of improvement?
=== 2-1. Find a Work Process that could be Easy to Improve! ===
Surprisingly, people don’t agree with this, but it is really important.
You’ll need to begin from simple work such as ‘Daily Report flow’ and ‘Suggestion Box flow’, for example. It will never be good, if you go straight away to a business which is politically charged, such as ‘Estimating flow’ or ‘ Orders Management flow’, etc.
At least, it should be a level of operations for which you can draw a “Business flow diagram” on your own.
Then, try flowing ten, or rather a hundred issues on the rule that you have created. Even better, throw ‘New Issues’ into the most upstream step one after another by yourself. After all, you won’t know whether or not ‘it has been improved’, unless you try to actually flow it down. (‘Simulation’ is merely a decoration. People in high positions never understand it.)
There is another related topic here… I Wonder Why My Boss won’t Draw a Workflow Chart
If you feel like trying a Cloud-based Workflow to improve your work for Free’, you can download samples in the following Website
Workflow-Sample (Daily Report flow)
Workflow-Sample (Suggestion Box flow)
=== 2-2. Expand to the Businesses which are likely to be Improved! ===
It would be even better if you could see the efficiency of ‘the Improvement” in numbers. The common way to do this is to measure the average required time.
For example, considering the work it entails to ‘go over the respondents’ of a ‘questionnaire’ collected at an exhibition. You can measure the required time between (1) data input from each answer sheet, and (2) the cold-calling by the Sales team. In addition, it is also good to flow the process for the first hundred, and then change ‘the progression of the work’ for the next hundred respondents.
Now, the tricks you have mastered doing this easy task, you can put into practice.
=== 2-3. Expand to Business which Requires Continuous Improvement! ===
The work described above is “a business that starts from internally”. The biggest disadvantage of these jobs, is the lack of sense of pressure.
In the world of BPM we call them ‘External Trigger (Start up)’ businesses. Specifically, the improvement of ‘A flow for responding to contacts from external companies’ or ‘A flow started by an alert from the Failure detection system’, these are the ones that have a direct impact on business performance.
Once you bring in the improvement cycle for such critical businesses, the internal atmosphere will change drastically. If you could reach this phase (2-3), from now on, the Business Process would continuously be managed and improved, as a part of the ‘enterprise culture’.
== 3. Become more Familiar with the Theory! ==
Indeed, it is important ‘to know the Work’, and only people in the company can improve it.
However, when you have done your ‘Improvement activities’ to some extent, you will find yourself wanting to know more about ‘the Theory’. You might get overwhelmed with the thought of ‘Self-studying’.
In such a case, reading is the best way. If you feel like studying harder, it might be a good idea to think about taking a certification exam.
=== 3-1. Study by Reading ===
Here, these articles are helpful. -> “Golden Rules of Business Process Modeling”
1. Define the Deliverable of the Business Process
2. Establish the Trigger of the Business Process
3. Divide the Business Process into Roles and Tasks
4. Arrange the Order and Route of Tasks
=== 3-2. Try Taking a Test ===
Check this Web site for more information. -> OMG Certified Expert in BPM 2 (OCEB 2 Program)
The first examination in the OCEB 2 program, for Fundamental level, is available for registration and test-taking NOW. Updated versions of the two Intermediate exams – Business and Technical – will follow early in 2014. Now you can OMG-certify your knowledge and skills…
== 4. Conclusion! ==
Nothing more but Questetra! (Joking!…not)
Well, for you can use a Cloud-based Workflow for free, please consider to give it a try.
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