Change Projects and Navigation Devices
By guest blogger Bernd Ruffing, Management Consultant & Process Painter.
Imagine you have to drive to an unknown address. You will most likely get into your car and first set the destination in your navigation device. For some reason, the car cannot see your current location. What will happen? Unfortunately nothing will happen. If the navigation device does not know your location, then it cannot calculate the appropriate route to your destination.
All projects are about changing something. Either something existing is being changed or something new is being introduced. And when you speak of target processes, you mean what the situation should look like after the change. You usually know the goal – sometimes more, sometimes less.
When projects start, the various activities are defined. Something is often missing though – getting a precise overview of the initial situation, or in another words recording the actual processes. It is usually argued that you know this piece already and you can save yourself this effort. But in reality, you want to take care of the target processes straight away.
Because if you don’t, you will run into issues like our navigation example:
- The route cannot be calculated correctly in advance because the starting point is missing.
- Alternative routes cannot be checked either.
- Although there is a schedule for the project, there is no clear path to the content.
- You may reach your goal, but never in the best way. You will have to accept detours, traffic jams and one-way streets, which in the end not only cause stress but also cost money.
The Route with Changes
Business processes are not just workflows for daily work, but are the key to success in project work and making changes. If you transfer the logic of a navigation device to the project and process work, the following steps should be followed in order to receive optimal suggestions for the appropriate routes:
- The actual processes are described in detail.
- The target and target processes are defined.
- It is carefully checked whether there are similarities or where there are differences.
- There are activity steps for how to get from the actual to the target process. There are many options here – through digitization and automation of business processes, or through organizational adjustments.
- The different options are evaluated.
- Now you can decide which “paths” you want to go.
- The appropriate steps and measures can then be determined (here we are in the middle of project management).
Goals are very important and should be pursued with full consistency. Nevertheless, the example of the navigation device shows us that we always need a starting point to achieve our goals. In the case of a business, we then speak of actual processes that are to be developed into target processes.