Over on the LinkedIn network Juhani Anttila asks
We have here in Finland a networked group of participants from different business and public organizations in the country. We are working with questions of the development of business processes in our organizations.What is your opinion and experience HOW SHOULD ONE START WITH THE ORGANIZATION-WIDE DEVELOPMENT OF BUSINESS PROCESSES IN ONES ORGANIZATION? Reference (unfortunately only in Finnish language):
Whilst business processes are not my area of expertise I thought I would hazard a reply. The phrase "Organisation Wide Process" should be enough to fill anyone with dread, for the same reason as "Enterprise Wide Information System Development and Implementation". It's a potential sink for a lot of time, energy and expense with possibly very limited potential for benefit, probably because no one can agree on what they are trying to achieve (i.e poor requirements management). What might be done? Perhaps we could look at the some of the lessons that Agile is trying to apply... How might that work?
  1. Identify where you will get the most business benefit. The Pareto principle tells that we can get 80% of our total improvement by improving only 20% of our processes, so work our which 20%.
  2. Working in the large is very hard work so pick small low hanging fruit to start with, provided that they address your requirements and help your achieve your objectives
  3. Bring business users (not just managers) onto the implementation team
  4. Now at this point we diverge from Agile orthodoxy because we often can't expect people to except changes to their processes on a frequent basis. There are three reasons for this:
    1. It can be too disruptive to expect people to change their work habits and activities every few days
    2. The cost of rolling out a process change can be high (e.g. training, tool updates,documentation...)
    3. We need time after each change to measure the process and provide feedback on the change
  5. Roll the change out to a helpful, smaller, team that can help you understand and improve your change before it becomes Enterprise wide. This team can also become your process champions
In addition your first activity should be to make sure that any changes you make are
  1. Aligned with the Organisations objectives
  2. Have complete support from all the executives and senior managers
And finally and most importantly apply the KISS principle. Simple processes, simple documentation, clear objectives.