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How to Analyze a Process

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In my last two posts we have been discussing Perspective 3, “The Process”.  All of us are part of processes in our day to day lives and all processes serve a purpose. Well, at least they should. If it does not, that is a deeper conversation for a different post.

Just to recap, in the first part we defined what a process is and described the various components. In the next part, we talked about how to create a process map and even defined some tips that I have learned over the years.

For this last part, I want to review how and when to analyze a process.

How to analyze a process

There are many reasons you will want to analyze a process.  You may want to analyze a process to find process inefficiencies.  You may want to analyze a process to obtain metrics on how long it takes to process certain activities, or tasks, within the process.  You may want to analyze a process to understand more.  Here are some steps you can take to analyze a process:

  1. Define – define the reason(s) you want to analyze the process. As stated above there are many different reasons to analyze a process, and if you have a specific focus you want to make sure you don’t go off on tangents.
  2. Observe – observe the process in action if you have not had a chance to do that as of yet. You may find there are steps done you weren’t even aware of, or it can be another level of clarity on exactly how the process flows.  If there are multiple people who conduct the process watch more than one person to see how each one performs the process.  There are a lot of insights that can be gained this way.
  3. Criteria – have defined criteria on what you are analyzing. For example, you may want to analyze how many handoffs occur in a process and why.  Are those handoffs aiding in the process being inefficient?
  4. Communication Plan – determine how the results of the analysis will be communicated and to whom. As well as, what is the recommendation, or plan, to close those analysis gaps. This could result in a “future state” process map to demonstrate how the process can be more efficient or how the process can be leaned out.

As you can see understanding the business process can bring a lot of clarity and understanding of the organization.

Recently I sat down with my friend Robert Thacker, for my YouTube channel Dojo Talk, to discuss all things process. Robert has been helping companies understand that process is the center of everything they do for over 20 years. There we discussed processes best practices as well as how successful companies recognize that process is also about culture. You can listen to the full session here.

Understanding process is fundamental to understanding your business, and process maps are one tool I love to leverage because it a nice visual depiction of the internal workings of an organization.

So far, we have discussed:

In my next article, we will move to “Perspective 4: Business Rules”. Until then, be sure to check out my YouTube channel Dojo Talk where I interview industry experts and peers on organizational best practices in business architecture, customer experience, and process.

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