Most any organization that you encounter is likely to have a process for virtually any activity. That framework is often viewed as an outward manifestation of an organization's culture.
How often have you heard the phrase "That's just how we do it here."? I've found that responses like that are usually a sneak peek into what it must be like to be a part of that organization. It is also a kind of leading indicator to a business' process framework. In short, its a way to gauge how groups choose to solve problems.
In the lexicon of Continuous Improvement Process Design work, a process framework is a way to visualize the effectiveness of a process by employing three distinct sets of tools:
- Process Definition Systems: Pre-specification materials like process maps & checklists that help practitioners with problem identification, problem measurement and the development of process designs.
- Process Management Systems: Root Cause Analysis findings that signal & surface problems, allow for rapid experimentation and utilize countermeasures to establish stability within the process in question.
- Process Innovation Systems: Measurement data of processes that creates a launching pad for the targeting of newer and improved goals to be reached by the process being improved upon.
So, what are you supposed to do with this information? What's in it for your organization?
You can start by defining as specifically as you can, what your processes are. Do you know why you do what you do? Do you know what your processes are supposed to look like? You should examine whether the way things have always been done is actually working. This deep examination can get you closer to identifying problems your organization is facing and the best solutions for those problems.
Other approaches to sketching out Process Frameworks include interviewing employees about what and how they do their jobs, observing (aka Go-and-See) how employees do their jobs and asking key questions about how they are able to measure success, repeat it and course correct when needed.
What this process work will do for your organization is help you organize your priority processes and offer you ways to find efficiencies, decrease waste and save money.
At OVP Management Consulting Group Inc. we believe helping clients determine what kind of problem-solving organization they are is a great way to begin any culture change or change management process. And asking the kinds of questions that start with, "How do you know...?" is a great way to establish baselines for your process framework.