Before Process Redesign

Process redesign is exciting. The optimistic among the team will be excited for these projects, while the pessimistic will become nervous. In both cases, people are really motivated to share their thoughts. Resist the temptation to act before the right time on these initiatives. There is a lot of work that should be completed first before an effective process redesign is possible.

The first question to ask is “Why?” Why is this process needed and how does it create value? A process redesign is pointless if the process should really just be discarded altogether.

The next step is to evaluate the current process. There are three parts to this evaluation:

  1. What is the current understanding of the process?
  2. What is the official/documented process?
  3. What is the actual process?

Very rarely do all three of these elements agree. Having a deep understanding of these three viewpoints on the existing system provides a basis for future work - a map provides no value if you don’t know where you are. Next, decide on and collect relevant metrics for the process. The impact of the process redesign will need to somehow be measured. This data collection could be qualitative, but quantitative data will likely be better. Collecting data on the current process provides a starting point for later comparison. Additionally, the process of collecting data may lead to new realizations. Finally, consider the target process. This consideration should treat the target process as a whole, but should also tie back to the metrics collected on the current process. What is the end goal of the target process? Is the goal realistic and can it be put into action?

Set yourself up for success in process redesign and implementation by first doing your research. The guidelines provided above are a good start.