The following is extracted from (slightly modified for you, the blog reader) the book, “Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual,” published by CRC Press, the Taylor and Francis Group. It summarizes the developments that occur during the first phase of a Business Process Improvement (BPI) project that is built upon multiple, facilitated workshops. For workshop agendas, tools, and details, refer to the book, pages 167 to 171.
Business Process Improvement Planning
Companies and organizations make large investments in the development of strategic plans. For example, the market rate for professional support services to help develop strategic plans may cost four percent of the investment sums sought to support the plan, sometimes more. Over the years, we too have developed templates that we use repeatedly, to bring about consistent results. We use facilitated workshops to extract information and build consensus from senior management about their articulated hopes for the organization.
The strategic plan reflects understanding of why, what, how, and when the client wants to do, how much it will cost, and the estimated return on monies invested. The strategic planning document is a clear statement of the organization’s intent and should be used to benchmark performance.
The BPI strategic plan crystalizes executive sanction before the business process improvement project can move ahead and transition from the process examination team to the implementation team.
The process examination team’s process improvement plan provides clear communication to senior management about the team’s intention for the business process improvement project as a whole, and specifically as to how it supports the organization’s strategic initiatives.
Now is the time to sell the project to the executive team, receive their approval, and release the resources needed for completing a successful project.
Purpose of the Business Process Improvement Plan
The business process improvement provides a reference point against which the process examination team will be evaluated. The business process improvement plan also provides a synopsis of what the BPI team(s) has been working on over previous months. The document legitimizes the critical nature of the proposed business process improvement project.
Now is the team’s first and primary opportunity to sell the project. For success the team must:
BPI Phase One Check-Off
- Be prepared to defend the tables, statements, and figures presented.
- Document known assumptions.
- Ensure that the methods and results used are auditable and transparent.
- Establish the accuracy of the data.
- Include charts and tables.
- Plan carefully.
- Prepare an oral presentation with visual supplements for management.
- Sell the project—your organization’s future may just depend on it.
- Solicit support from the project sponsor.
Business Process Improvement Plan Elements
The business process improvement plan is the process examination team’s last action item before the project is handed over to the implementation team, and is a culmination of the team’s findings and decisions over recent months. The business process improvement plan includes the following components:
- Executive Summary
- The Problem
- The Solution
- Resources Needed
- The Process
- Vision, Goals, and Objectives
- SWOT Analysis
- Project Team
- Risks and Opportunities
- Next Steps
Create a snapshot of the project that will capture the imagination of the executives. Concisely state why the project is critical and the results that will be created by its completion. Include the project costs and expected return on the investment. Bear in mind that the executive summary may be all that an executive has time to read, so the summary may serve as the deciding factor of whether the project gets approved or not.
Business process improvement is either in response to or in anticipation of a changing environment. The reader needs to identify with and believe that the problem is real and that the organization’s ability to meet its goals and objectives will be compromised if the problem goes unresolved.
State the pain that the process causes to the stakeholders and why it needs to be stopped. Process measurements and workflows provide evidence of what is wrong with the existing process.
Develop a lofty purpose for the business process improvement project. State HOW and WHY the business process improvement project will resolve the problems identified.
The project budget shows the investment needed and by type of expense. The return on the investment made and the period for the returns should be clearly stated. Include the assumptions that went into the number crunching.
Codify the reasons why the particular process was selected for improvement. Demonstrate that an auditable and transparent methodology was used for the selection of the process to be improved, and include the results of the analysis.
Vision, Goals, and Objectives
Paint a picture of the future process; what it will look like, and how it will assist the organization achieve its strategic objectives. Include the vision, goals, and objectives of the business process improvement project and align them to the organization’s vision.
Strengthen the argument for the process vision, goals, and objectives by showing how strengths and opportunities accommodate the vision. Determine how the weaknesses and the impact of threats will be reduced, converted, or eliminated by the project.
Project Implementation Team
Explain the remit of the implementation team and how and why the members were selected. Explain the selection criteria and present the implementation team charter.
From the Risk Register highlight the risks with the highest probabilities for impacting the project, and explain the mitigation/ elimination strategies. Summarize the change management plan and the stakeholder analysis and include them with the strategies.
Highlight the opportunities that successful business process improvement presents. Identify any opportunities that have been taken advantage of thus far, such as the quick wins discussed earlier.
Include the updated project budget and highlight the critical costs. Show the basis of the project rate of return and the payback period.
Present an updated project plan and give an overall view of the next steps and the estimated dates. Highlight the key activities such as business process improvement plan acceptance by management, implementation team training, process design, project testing and implementation, and project completion.
Here provide a review and wrap-up of all the above. No new information should be introduced in the conclusion. All members of the process examination team and implementation teams need to sign off on the document (literally obtain signatures) showing commitment and buy-in of its contents.
Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
Daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.