Part IV: Our Insight and Advice on Business Process Improvement: Final Suggestions . . . and an Offer

(initially published on EFA® in March 2011, republished in March 2013 as the last of a four-part series in the retrospective Above Average: The Best of Escape from Averageness®, 2009-2012, updated and republished here)

I will offer you a couple of final suggestions.

First – the value you deliver to stakeholders is created by the work you do;  that work is often performed in processes;  those processes are part of a business operating model.  So – wherever possible – the other elements of the operating model (its systems, organizational structure, teammates, culture) need to support process design, not vice versa.

Second – knowledge of the design, improvement, and documentation of processes is one matter, knowledge of the management of processes is something altogether different.  In addition to the process areas, a working knowledge of management areas like Six Sigma, Lean Production, and Theory of Constraints and how to effectively blend them – find a way to use the tools that work best without regard to the religion from which they came – is essential when it comes to good process management.

Third – as I mentioned at the outset – you need to be able to distinguish between the areas that need to be managed as processes and the areas that need to be managed as a portfolio of projects, and to operate accordingly;  you would find particularly useful a knowledge of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) helpful;  CCPM is part of Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints.

As I noted at the outset, I rarely plug SAI on the pages of this weblog, but this is different.

SAI has done more work with processes – and done it longer – than anyone in the homebuilding industry.  Before the creation of the National Housing Quality (NHQ) Award, we were already assisting Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winners in their efforts to refocus, restructure, and redesign their business operations around their processes.  Before there was any interest in the homebuilding industry on the documentation and management of business and operating processes, we were already recognized experts in that field.

Our process toolbox is the best in the industry.  We pioneered the development of many of the tools and techniques we use in this area.  We are a consulting partner with iGrafx, which has some of the most advanced process flowcharting and modeling software available;  we know, because we participated in a part of its development.

We are adept at every form of process documentation, including cross-functional flowcharting, value stream mapping, and IDEF0 process modeling, all of the notation languages, as well as the methodologies – Total Quality Management (TQM), Business Process Improvement (BPI), Process Reengineering, Lean-Six Sigma (LSS), Business Process Modeling and Notation (BPMN), Theory of Constraints (TOC), and Lean/TPS – that act upon them.

But, I will make this offer to you.  Yes – we know what we are talking about.  More importantly, we are willing to talk with you, at no charge, to help you make the right decisions about workflow.

By all means, please take us up on it.  Here is my contact information: