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Process management is more than just describing processes "as is".

It's something I see frequently when I come to advise an organisation or when I have students in a BPM training: they are busy busy busy describing processes. That's when I say, "Stop. Because what you're doing doesn't make any sense." The look of disbelief - but also relief - speaks volumes. ;-).



I always explain it like this: "Are you really going to describe all the processes in the organisation? And when you're done - in about 15 years or so - will those described processes still be current? Or will everyone have to blindly follow your process descriptions to the letter until you come back for a new 'update'?"

process management has a lifecycle


Process management follows a lifecycle, with different phases. Those phases go beyond describing processes; that's where it doesn't stop.


You only describe processes 'as is' to prepare for the next phases in the lifecycle.


In phase 1, you identify which processes belong together and which ones get priority to solve a business problem.


In phase 2, you discover how the process works 'as is' so that you are ready for phase 3, analysis, where you look at where the problems are and where it can be improved.


Once you know where the problems and opportunities for improvement are, you go to phase 4 as soon as possible to optimise.


Process management is continuous improvement


Process management is improving, improving, improving. Continuously, it never really stops. So if you stay stuck in 'as is', you'll never get to improvement. That's a waste of time and very detrimental to your organisation.


Spend as little time as possible on 'as is' and spend even more time on analysis and optimisation. And when you have simulated the new processes (always do!) and further improved them, you can bring them 'live'.


Process management is measuring


And that's where the improvement doesn't stop. Because once the improved process is implemented, you measure it - on predetermined indicators - to see if it is really an improvement compared to the previous situation.


And if it's an improvement, you keep measuring to see how it can be even better. The art is then to be able to implement the improvement as quickly and well as possible. And again to measure to improve even further. It really never stops.


Give yourself time and rest, for a real analysis


If you already get stress from the thought of 'continuous improvement and measurement and improvement again', then you're not doing it right. This continuous approach to process management actually gives you peace. And no stress.


You get stress from not having enough time to do the analysis, because you have to describe all those processes 'as is'. Without focusing on what really has value for the organisation and the customer. So you don't get real support from anyone, not even your management. It's a 'must' to describe processes. Nothing gives as much stress as the idea that what you do has no value.


You are indispensable for digital transformation


But that's a misunderstanding, because your work as a process analyst or business analyst has enormous value. But approach it differently.


Focus on solving a business problem. Start with that. And follow the lifecycle of process management. Download the TIMAF poster 'Towards continuous improvement' and use that as a guide.


Take the time for a really good analysis improvement. Make it clear to management that you need that time.


And include people in the optimisation, because you can't do this alone.


You will notice how much better everything will go and how people will see your added value.


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