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Your process is not living up to expectations, so you’ve decided to implement standard operating procedures (SOP) to improve process consistency, compliance, and effectiveness. However, that project is stalled: employees are not buying into your proposed changes, and management is growing impatient.
How can you use the individual steps of your process procedures journey to focus your business on:
- Adapting your core business processes to process change?
- Building repeatable business processes?
- Adhering to process standards or regulations?
- Managing your business processes more effectively?
Each step of your process procedures project results in an important milestone being reached. Your entire process procedures project will move along better and quicker, with better results, if you achieve each milestone.
Figure 1 depicts the business process procedures journey work flow. The journey starts with project management. The extent of a business process change can be large or small — they may or may not require written procedures — but even small process changes require basic project management to avoid having the law of unintended consequences catch up with them.
1. Process Procedures Project Management
To get the buy-in of your employees, start your process procedures project with a project charter that focuses your team on clear project goals and objectives. For example, if you’re working on an accounts receivable process, be sure receivables clerks consistently follow the process.
Your process procedures project plan should allow time for the six steps in your process procedures journey: allow about 12% for project planning, 13% for process design, 25% for procedure writing, and 50% for process procedure implementation, training, process auditing, and a management review at the end of the project (Figure 2).
Figure 2 – Process Procedures Project Time
Process procedures project management key milestone: completion of your project charter and project plan.
2. Process Mapping and Process Design
Your procedures process map should include the sequence of process steps with clearly defined inputs, documents, and records. Make a special note of the process flow metrics, responsibilities, and goals. For example, an accounts receivable process should note the invoices per hour processed, who is responsible for cash, write-off, or discount approvals, and how close the process is to the goal of collecting within thirty days. This information will help with later procedure writing, process training, and process auditing.
For many business processes, a process map may be the only documentation needed. Not all processes require procedures, work instructions, or anything more than a process map. In fact, a form may be all you need. It is really a matter of scale: the more employees you have involved in a given function — the more complex it is — the more formal process documentation you’ll need.
Process procedures process mapping and design key milestone: complete “current state” process map with process data.
Next week, we’ll cover writing policies and procedures. Procedure writing is a result of formal, required compliance and training. It is often much easier to comply with standards - and train employees – when you work with a written procedure.
If you’re interested in learning more about your procedures, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 314-863-5079 for a procedure review. We’re happy to provide feedback on what you’re currently using and show you how we can help you improve your processes.