As many employees transition to working remotely, one key piece of advice has been to
establish a routine. However, Process and Performance Management (PPM) provides
organizations and their employees with more than a routine to fall back on. PPM provides
consistency in delivery and the ability to assess our processes to help answer questions like:
1. Which processes are absolutely vital for continuity?
2. What’s the availability of inputs and resources to execute these critical processes?
3. Are there alternate ways to execute any at risk processes?
Resources are in a state of flux right now and many processes may not be the best fit for the current environment. That said, reliance on processes can not only help see us through these times, but also triage and adapt how work gets done in an organization.
CREATING STABILITY THROUGH DOCUMENTATION
Process documentation is the codification of how an organization accomplishes its work. The types of documentation vary widely from simple checklists to complex process maps that also include business rules, roles, systems, and even inputs and outputs. However, documentation is more than the mere capture of how work gets done. It is invaluable in times like these because it helps:
1. Continuity and consistency: Process documentation provides step-by-step guidance on how to execute work. This means people can step into roles as needed because they have the information to do the job at their fingertips.
2. Prioritization: Process categorizations often happen during documentation and help us
understand what processes are critical. This ensures an organization can prioritize the
processes needed to deliver value and may want to assess to ensure they are still relevant
for the current environment. For example, Concentra uses three process categories—
strategic, operational, or transactional—to better categorize and classify the frequency of an activity and its contribution to the organization.
3. Fast track automation: Given the potential resource constraints and need to change an
organization’s processes to maintain social distancing, it is likely that organizations are going to fast track some of their digital and automation efforts. Process documentation helps an organization fast track these efforts because the current state is already captured.
Although processes will need some rework to account for bots executing the task, organizations are able to skip through some of the early steps in their automation efforts.
SOLVING THE RIGHT PROBLEMS THROUGH PROCESS ANALYSIS
The second big role for process at this time is an organization’s ability to use process analysis and process risk assessments to help the organization understand which processes are at risk at this time so it can develop contingency plans or solutions.
Risk analysis usually focuses on two variables: likelihood and impact. An item that is unlikely to happen or wouldn’t be terribly disruptive may not warrant much process improvement or contingency planning. With a list of processes, an organization can begin gauging whether each risk is significant or negligible. For each risk, the organization should determine:
» Frequency—How often might this risk occur?
» Predictability—Can the organization predict when it will occur (seasonal, peak sales, etc.)?
» Forewarning and onset—How gradually or suddenly will the issue become critical? Can the organization react in time?
» Duration—How long will the event last (finite or until an action is taken)?
» Consequence—What is affected (product quality, schedule, equipment, customer
» Potential dollar loss—What’s the monetary value at risk?
This information is then codified into a scale that helps the organization understand and
respond to its risks, starting with the most critical; typically, through mitigation or contingency planning.
This article is written by APQC in the document COVID-19 ORGANIZATIONAL SURVIVAL GUIDE, Featuring insights and strategies from APQC’s 5 major research areas.
APQC helps organizations work smarter, faster, and with greater confidence. It is the world’s foremost authority in benchmarking, best practices, process and performance improvement, and knowledge management. APQC’s unique structure as a member-based nonprofit makes it a differentiator in the marketplace. APQC partners with more than 500 member organizations worldwide in all industries. With more than 40 years of experience, APQC remains the world’s leader in transforming organizations. Visit us at https://www.apqc.org/, and learn how you can make best practices your practices.
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