5 Pithy Suggestions for Improving Your Business Processes

What is Your Process?

As a member of the OpFocus process team, I have come to more fully appreciate the value of internal process. As the project leader for Salesforce implementations, I have seen how well-developed processes save companies time and money.

Business Process Management is a big subject and I only want to touch on it here with these 5 suggestions:

1. Get the right people on the bus.

As Jim Collins says, “First get the right people on the bus.” For our purposes here, that means to get together your group of the right process decision makers. Typically this will include both the managers of the areas for which the process is being developed and documented as well as key individual contributors. Few will disagree that good process documentation is important. Get upper-level management buy-in and assemble your team with care.

2. Start small and make regular progress.

We all have “day jobs.” Few companies have the luxury of personnel dedicated to process. Decide on an amount of time that the team can commit to for the long term, without causing too much impact on members’ other duties. Schedule time with your team that works best and ask for commitment to these times from each member. Perhaps an initial kickoff meeting and then regular meetings twice a month. This is working well here at OpFocus.

3. Include Working Sessions.

Work on process definition and documentation between meetings is often difficult to prioritize, especially if it involves more than one team member. Include time in your schedule to work on the documentation.

4. Create a decision matrix.

Document what processes need to be worked on, who is responsible for each process, what the next steps are, and when work on each item should be completed. It is critical that you know who the true decision makers are for each process, including those who oversee the process, those who ensure its usage, and any others who should be involved. Agreeing to who the decision-makers are at the outset will likely help to avoid conflicts down the road, and will give everyone a sense of the big picture.

5. Communicate!

Most people will appreciate that thought is going into how things are done, and that the business is making a commitment to developing process. Tell people what is being worked on and how it will benefit the organization. When a process is done being developed and documented, tell people about it! Just having a process documented should only be the beginning. You want people to “live” the process, use the documentation, and to monitor and refine it over time.

For a growing small business like OpFocus, development and documentation of process is critical to our success. The ability to communicate how we operate, and what we have found to be best practices, to new team members in particular, will allow us to be consistent and continue to offer our clients the best possible customer service.

For clients of OpFocus, up-to-date documented process will save you money! If you fully understand your own internal processes and are able to efficiently communicate them to our team, we will be able to complete discovery quickly and develop a more fully realized solution.

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you have any process suggestions for us? What has worked well for your company? Tell us!

Photo credit: Neal Jennings