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The Art of Business Process Management

“The Art of Business Process Management” on The Art of Service, July 9, 2020.

The best way to understand your business process is to complete a value stream mapping which is a specialized form documenting the process flow. The value stream map begins with the customers’ request and ends with that request being fulfilled. We then map all of the steps and ancillary processes that are required to deliver value to the customer.

After mapping the flow of work begins by collecting a few simple metrics. Initially focus on the total time it takes for the request to be fulfilled which is known as the lead time. Next look at the waiting time between different process steps. Often more time is spent waiting for a step to be executed than the actual time it takes to do the work.

Look at the process steps and ask if they provide value to the customer. In other words, would the customer be willing to explicitly spend money to have this step executed. Quite often, we inject process steps that support perceived internal needs but do not add to the customer’s experience.

The value stream map provides a clear, graphical representation of the work involved. The next step is asking the difficult questions on how do we make the process better. What steps can we eliminate or consolidate? Can we create opportunities for more end-to-end ownership of the customer experience? That is the harder work.

Alan Zucker
Founding Principal
Project Management Essentials LLC