Process maps need to put everyday users first

They might be called ‘business’ processes, but for a long time, they never really felt that way to the business itself.

Many of us that have been in the process improvement game for a while, have come round to the realisation that all those process charts and procedures we produced in the 90’s and 00’s failed on a key objective. They were often never looked at by ‘the business’ after our projects produced them…something we tried to ignore for a long time.

They weren’t used by business teams because quite simply they weren’t useful (or even understandable).

We used various different methodologies as guidelines for design phase, improvement phase, requirements phase…but for a long time it was largely up to us ‘specialists’ to decide how to present and deploy the information to our end customer. Who’s that? Oh that’s right. The person performing the process, by themselves, at their desk, at the sales counter, on the phone with customer….someone that just wants some guidance on how to do it right. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it right for them.

But at least we knew our information was correct, and that was good enough. Wasn’t it?

Correct was not good enough. We failed to recognise the need to pull up from our nose dive into detail when improving processes. We developed them using OUR methodologies, then communicated and trained them in OUR formats, often unchanged.

The fact is, business teams are responsible for the way they do things, and we help them get that right.  We as the expensive experts, facilitate improvements. That was why we got it so wrong. We thought as the owners of improvement projects we could make the decisions on how the information should be presented – which the business duly signed off as, you guessed it, correct.  We created processes at the level of detail that we needed for our projects, and that’s why our old standard (high level on the chart, detail on the document) has been able to survive.

If we truly want people doing things the right way it’s time to put the business users front and centre and deliver process information that’s created with them at heart. Simplify things and make it easy to follow and understand.

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Comments (1)

  1. Dieter Stalmann:
    Mar 04, 2013 at 04:24 PM

    In our business, the business users have been taught to create the process maps. IT guides them on basic principles, but do not dictate how they have to be. It has to make sense to them, not IT!

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