Identify and Conduct Operational and Technical Analysis
So often when the company creates and documents the As Is Swim lane model, it concurrently brainstorms some improvement, and then moves to implement those improvements. Here’s what I have found. If you move right from the current state process diagram to the solutions you get small improvements; or you document the current process, suggest where automation will improve the process and use technology to automate the current poor process The BA has to help the organization do the needed analysis, such as looking at defects and finding where they make the biggest impact; or using a notched time line to find out where the long wait times are and developing a streamlined process which minimizes wait time. Four techniques I use to get a deeper understanding during analysis are:
- Gathering baseline and analytical data
- Conducting the customer scorecard
- Identifying I am Wasted pain points
- Consolidating or standardizing process models
Facilitating Leadership Conversations and Team Work Sessions
I always encourage a company to use an internal facilitator to bring the BPM process improvement skills to management and the team. The BA is in a strong role to do that, as long as s/he knows the BPM methodology and has strong group process skills. Of course the organization can choose to use an external consultant, but it builds organization capability when the company trains internal facilitators and has them work with the management and team roles in a process improvement effort. At the start of the project the BA should sit down with the Executive Sponsor, Process Owner, and Project lead and develop the project charter. The BA helps these three leaders understand their roles and responsibilities (which are documented) and explains the specific observations, tasks, input and review meetings, that the roles complete at the start of the project and during improvement, implementation, and sustainment. The BA can also facilitate work sessions with the project lead and business process improvement team. Here the BA retains a neutral role, but brings a structure for modeling, analysis, and redesign which will be efficient and effective, engaging all the team members (representatives of the stakeholders and key subject matter experts), and move the team toward the process owner’s and sponsor’s specific improvement targets. The BA, as a facilitator, keeps the BPM methodology in the forefront, consults with the project lead about which analysis techniques will be useful, and engages the team to hear all points of view and helps the team gather customer and quantitative data. The outcome is the team uses operational and technical analyses to create what’s necessary before building any solutions. The BA is not just gathering requirements, building process models, or recommending technical solutions as an individual contributor; instead s/he is working with leadership and the team to understand the challenges and build larger solutions.
Find Solutions That Match the Real Goal
There are several ways the BA can help the Business Owner.
- If IT has a priority list of requests, this request may not rise to the top. So the BA can able help the Business Owner position his/her request differently to be more strategic and move it to a higher priority.
- Or if the request is not strategic, the BA might be able to suggest quick wins for some immediate returns while waiting for an appropriate larger improvement effort.
- By stipulating clear improvement targets with the Executive Sponsor and Process Owner, gathering baseline metrics, identifying the right team, and using a consistent BPM Methodology, the BA can help the team see the process end to end and clarify each person’s role and contribution to the outcome of the process. This means a stronger solution will be identified and one that the team and sponsor are motivated to implement. What more could you ask for?
The BA can step up to a larger role in Business Process Management and serve the organization in a collaborative and strategic way. S/he will have to learn a BPM Methodology, group process skills, and how to interact with executives about process. It is helpful if the BA develops the personal style to influence these key players while allowing them to have the final decision. This is an exciting role, demonstrating more professional credibility, and being part of larger deliverables. But the BA is capable of it. If you’re a BA start trying out some of these roles, I suggest working in tandem with another colleague on the project, or getting some additional coaching or training.
Want to learn more?
Sign up for my live-online BPMessentials workshop, Starting and Organizing a BPM Project (Jan. 15 and 16, 2013) and Analyzing and Optimizing BPM Processes (March 12 and 13, 2013) Find out how to build high level maps with process owners and project leads, how to write a charter in 90 minutes, how to get the right members for a BPM team, how to document process models in the BPMN standard, using the free ITP software, how to use the 4 required techniques to analyze processes, and creative ways to build optimize processes.