Process Management 101

Are you confused about what a process is and isn’t? This week my client struggled with the concept of managing their processes and so I thought I would explain here exactly what good, practical, process management is all about.

Process management is the ensemble of activities used to plan and monitor the performance of a business process. The term usually refers to the management of business processes.

Process management is the application of tasks, knowledge, skills, resources, and responsibilities to define, visualise, measure, control and improve processes with the goal to meet customer requirements profitably (or easier, faster, less stress, etc.).

A process is a series of tasks and activities that have a defined start and end point. Customer requirements aren’t met by one person or department alone; they are met through a combination of activities that flow across departments both internally and externally.

Therefore, a business process is NOT a flowchart!!

A flowchart is a great way to define how an activity is performed, but this is not a process.

A business process captures the activities performed by all contributors. A contributor may be a person, department or team, and could be external to the company.

The flow of tasks and activities performed by these contributors convert an input into an output based on the objective of the process.

More often than not, the output becomes the input to the next business process.

Business processes are supported by related information. So for instance, the process step ‘procure materials’ might be supported by a procedure for procurement, including:

  • supplier selection and monitoring
  • how to place an order
  • policies regarding procurement levels/limits
  • checking that purchased items conform to requirements

Process interaction refers to the visualisation of all business processes and their relationships i.e. how they are connected.

Why would an organisation what to define their processes? Lots of reasons!

  • To increase transparency across the company
  • To define best practice
  • To standardise
  • To manage performance, including KPI’s, objectives, targets, metrics, etc.
  • To create a business manual
  • To understand where problems occur so that they can be eliminated
  • To aid staff training
  • To provide a case for improvement
  • To assist in the introduction of new IT systems
  • The list could go on….

I hope this makes it a little clearer for you. Get in touch is you need more clarification.


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