Every day brings opportunities to learn from our mistakes, from successes, or even plain old trial and error. The good news is that almost all this valuable information is retained in one form or another, somewhere. The bad news for many organisations - it doesn't seem to be retrievable by the teams that need it, when they need it.
Our corporate memory in terms of process knowledge is particularly exposed to 'corporate amnesia'. Where we have hit SAVE, but for some reason the information disappears and is never looked at again.
It all starts with how we store this information, to enable us to extract value in years to come. There are many different stakeholders of process information, ranging from the teams that perform the processes every day, through to major change projects, commissioned to transform how we do things. These stakeholders have quite different objectives and different needs from this information, and this often impacts on how processes knowledge is captured:
- Project teams: Processes are Visio charts or detailed documentation. They're project milestones that have been signed off.
- Enterprise Architecture teams: We need process maps including systems and data flows.
- LEAN teams: Value Stream Maps are the common language of our processes.
And there-in lies the problem for many organisations. We do not believe that all stakeholders and their requirements are born equal.
Our philosophy at Promapp is to recognise one stakeholder above all others, the process participant. The end business user of this information on a rainy Thursday, with an unhappy customer on the other end of a phone line. If they can't find the guidance they need, or don't find it useful, then it doesn't matter what we've learned over the years, what we've written down or how. They will quietly and in desperation bypass the 'corporatised' memory, and get the job done the best way they know how.
Without the ability to influence every day behaviours of our teams, we lose the value of those historical lessons.