Business Process Re-Engineering (Re-Design)

This article describes process re-design techniques to ensure that the appropriate data quantity is gathered at the right level to identify, correct, and maintain detailed process information for continuous process improvement. Topics include developing a Change Management Plan (CMP), and conducting analysis to identify process status.

Because implementation of a re-designed process will necessitate down time to install software and hardware changes as well as to provide skills and system access training, approval must be obtained from managers of the organization that will be affected by the changes. To facilitate planning and approval, a CMP must be developed to collect critical information as it is identified and analyzed. Not all of the information in the CMP will be developed to the same level for an automation and re-design project.

A Change Management Plan (CMP) must be developed that identifies:

o Overview and Benefits of the Change

o Managing Stakeholder Expectations of Change

o Scope of the change (software and hardware systems affected)

o Obtaining Management Buy-in

o Specific Systems and Software Changes

o Workplace changes – physical reconfiguration of equipment and space configuration

o Workforce changes – identifying potential reasons for resistance to change

o Number and job categories of employees affected

o Skills Analysis of Skills Available and Skills Required for Change

o Training Needs Analysis

o Extent of Training Materials Development – Encouraging a collaborative effort with process owner

o Training Rollout Implementation, Including Instructor-Led, Self-instruction, and Mentoring

o Cost and Schedule Analysis (services provider and affected personnel)

o Change Sequence and Schedule

o Measuring Process Implementation Success

The CMP is a compilation of information that needs to be communicated to stakeholders to enable both an automation project and a significant re-design project to proceed. After doing the preliminary work presented in the rest of this section, the CMP is the document that guides the management of process change. The difference in a CMP for an automation process versus re-design of a full capability process is the level and amount of detail. A full capability process re-design project requiring six months or more to complete, would include more details for planning and implementation, especially for skills and training needs assessments.

The technique of flowing a process through process workflow modeling diagrams helps the modeler to visualize and test the logic of relationships between functions, tasks, and steps. The techniques are the same as those to automate forms, but they are extended to all tasks of all functions. Task level activities are decomposed into observable, measurable steps to help the modeler identify opportunities for process improvements at the "how-to" level. In addition to developing "As-Is" and "To-Be" workflows for all tasks, a gap analysis is performed on the whole process, and a root cause analysis of process issues is conducted to identify cause and effect relationships of process failures to help resolve performance issues. All process information is logically presented in a reference manual in a "cook book" format to enable easy selection and execution of any or all key and supporting functions or tasks in the process.

Perform Gap Analysis for "To-Be" Documentation

Any official documentation that commits an organization to compliance with full implementation of a target process can be used as a standard for performing gap analysis. Any informal documentation, including the information gathered through interviews should be compared with the official documentation in a matrix type document (spreadsheet or table).

In a typical gap analysis spreadsheet there is a corresponding column for each process to be compared. In each of the columns, the section title and summary is provided. Another column is provided to summarize and contrast the processes with a standard. If the comparison reveals differences between a process and the standard, those differences are identified in the right-most column to explain how the process varied from the standard

Upon completion and verification of the gap analysis, share it with the team lead of the target process, and then with interviewees in the organization to verify correctness and accuracy of the information in the document. After receiving the gap analysis document back from the interviewees, record the comments in an XLS worksheet. Convene a review of the comments with Business Process Management Team (BPMT) members to achieve consensus on how to disposition them and how to prioritize the severity of the issues.

Perform Cause Effect Analysis of Process Issues/Problems

There are several factors that influence the implementation of process standards, including:

o Local management decision to customize a corporate process and implement what fits the need at the local level and nothing more

o Dependency on scarce resources to implement the process only on a required basis

o Dependency on adequate budget allocation

o Dependency on perception of accountability and need to comply

o Strength of mandate to implement - enforcement to implement

o Local implementation of a higher level process not started or completed

o Local implementation of a higher level process lacks documentation and training

o Local business requirements do not support the need for higher process implementation

These factors significantly impact root cause analysis of the reasons why processes are not implemented, are only partially implemented, or are completely implemented.

Identification of process documentation must include any form of organization level communication to socialize or train a particular process, including organization level instructions, standards, pamphlets, manuals, technical orders, office communications, and emails. The purpose for reviewing this documentation is to identify deviations and non-compliances with current process implementations; this information will be used to assess the impact on fulfillment of business requirements by local organizations.

Questions regarding performance gaps may reveal process performance issues as well. Information must be included in the CMP that describes acceptable variances between documentation and actual process implementation. Because the "how-to" level of the process is not assessed during "Quick Wins," it is unnecessary to formally use the Gap Analysis format in automation projects. However, any differences between existing process documentation and current practice do need to be recorded for later follow-up and the Gap Analysis is the best method for that.

Identify Process Performance Issues/Problems/Risks

Process performance issues occur because there is:

o An occasional process failure point or component that requires a simple workaround to restart or complete the process

o An inconsistently occurring bottleneck at which activities slow to a snail's pace or quit – approval authority unavailable; trained resource unavailable, supplies not available on time or information not provided in a timely manner

o Occasional equipment failure that impacts on-time process completion

o An intermittently occurring, interdependent process failure

There are other reasons why process performance inconsistently degrades or fails, of course; this list contains only a sampling of what can go wrong. A process that degrades over time, rejuvenates, and then degrades again will generate issues that convert to risks if they generate a persistent trend. Continuous process monitoring through metrics analysis will reveal these types of issues and risks that should be managed to prevent or minimize process failures. Metrics only have meaning when there is a continuous data stream containing a high number of similar or same occurring transactions or events. And, remember that process performance issues are only indicators of potential process failures.

Identification of performance issues through interviewing should not be limited to talking just to SME's even if they are most knowledgeable or have ownership of process implementation. Also interview those people who may be affected by process performance issues, as well as people who are in an organization external to that of the process owner. Such downstream people may provide inputs to the process and/or receive process outputs in the form of services and products. In addition to identifying an issue, determine the frequency of the problem, the length of time a specific process performance problem has been an issue, and costs of continued problems. Costs may include lost productivity due to re-work, lost time, or delays in meeting process milestones. Performance issues should be documented in the CMP.

Identify the severity of the risk to process objectives and goals if the performance issues are not corrected at all, and determine the severity of the risk if not corrected after 30, 60, 90, 120, and 180 days. Set a priority for correcting issues. Encourage the process owner to manage risks associated with implementation of the process until issues are resolved. Known risks must be included in the CMP.

Analyzing Performance Issues Using Cause-Effect Diagramming

The Ishikawa Fishbone Cause-Effect diagram is a graphical method of visualizing primary causes contributing to a problem (effect). It is a systematic, structured way of visualizing hypotheses about why an activity is not occurring as expected. The fishbone diagram can be used also as a solution – effect diagram to identify what factors contribute to a desired activity execution.

Ishikawa Fishbone Diagnosis Tool

Figure 3.2.2-1. Ishikawa Fishbone Cause-Effect Diagram

The Ishikawa diagram starts with the problem or "Effect" at the head of the fish followed by diagonal bones making up the "Causes". It provides a subjective method to structure hypotheses about the causes. Classifying causes into categories provides a guide to full exploration of root causes of a problem.

Common classifications include characterizations of:

o How – Questions about the means or mechanics of occurring actions

o What – Questions concerning objects, procedures, materials

o Why – Questions on conditions such as motivation

o When – Questions about sequence of actions

o Where – Questions concerning affects associated with effects

The benefits of using the Ishikawa diagram include identifying:

o Stakeholders in a degraded process can contribute to possible causes of process failure in an interactive brainstorming session with their peers

o Cause-effect relationships affecting the loss of product, process, or service quality

o Possible reasons for variations affecting quality and process performance, and the relationships between the causes of variation

Limitations of using the Ishikawa diagram include:

o Limited use for organizing thoughts and structuring a quality improvement approach – can only be used as a subjective diagnosis tool preceding quantitative analysis, not an empirical solutions tool

o Lack of ability to rank causes

o Inability to identify leverage points to control specific actions that might by themselves improve quality