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“Our company has been using Lean in the manufacturing area. I am responsible for engineering design and development processes. I wanted to see how I could use the lean principles in my area. Shelley provided a nice balance between a high level overview and practical tools in the two day class, so that I walked away with many applications. We have already started eliminating waste, taking out time, duplication errors, and multiple touch points at our 6 technical centers. I estimate that the efficiencies will save us $1,000,000.”

Bob Niklewicz
Vice President, Engineering
Tegrant Corporation

 

Is a BPM Facilitator Needed? - Part 1

For sure.  For without a Facilitator for a business process improvement (BPI) project, the project is likely to

  • Take considerably longer
  • Not stay focused on the goal and instead go off on tangents
  • Be controlled by the project manager
  • Miss input from key stakeholders
  • And more

Yes, a Facilitator is needed for a BPM improvement project.  I call it the Team Facilitator.  The Team Facilitator is one of the four key leadership roles in a BPI project.  Each of these roles is shown below with short descriptions.

This blog concentrates on the Team Facilitator role.  The other roles are the topics of former blogs, such as Project Managers and Process Managers—Many Similarities But a Different Focus  or Getting Started with BPM: Find the Right Process Owner.

 What Does the Team Facilitator Do?

The Team Facilitator knows the BPM methodology and runs the meetings using the BPM tools.  He has good group process skills and neutrally facilitates sessions and meetings with the team, making sure that agenda objectives are accomplished, time is wisely used, and team members all participate.  The Team Facilitator does not need to know anything about the process. Do not choose someone who works in the process; it can be someone in the same department or unit, but not someone who would have any desire to influence the solution in a particular way.  Instead choose someone with good facilitation skills and BPM knowledge. 

Below is a description of the Team Facilitator role with criteria for selection, and key responsibilities in the different phases of a BPI project.

Team Facilitator

Criteria for the Team Facilitator

  • Experienced in both process improvement methods and group facilitation
  • May or may not be a member of the process being analyzed

Responsibilities

Initiation and Ongoing Work during the following phases:  Chartering and Resourcing; Process  Discovery, Process Analysis; Process Design

Business Process Analysis

  • Assists the team in the development of the project scope and quantifying project objectives
  • Assures the quality of the business process analysis methodology
  • Helps the team select tools for the process improvement modeling, analysis, and redesign
  • Moves the team toward the improvement targets using the BPM methodology.

Group Facilitation

  • Facilitates weekly working team meetings and team sessions in the daylong workshops.
  • Raises issues and concerns with the Project Lead and Process Owner
  • Ensures that all team members’ points of view are heard.
  • Is not responsible for implementation in the organization, nor resolution of interpersonal ‘people’ problems.
  • Assists the team in reviewing “lessons learned”

Implementation and Results Phase

  • No formal responsibilities although the Team Facilitator could choose to stay on to work with the Implementation team in a similar role.

Continuous Improvement, Sustaining Phase

  • No responsibilities

The Team Facilitator is not the same as the Project Lead.  The Project Lead is a strong subject matter expert, probably a manager, is accountable for meeting the Process Owner’s goals, and will be the lead for operationalizing the improvements in the workplace.  (If you want a list of all four leadership roles and their responsibilities, email me at shelleysweet@i4process.com.)

The Team Facilitator can be an internal person or an external consultant.  I often come in to be the external Team Facilitator if the organization does not have someone in their organization with both group process skills and BPM methodology skills.  I also get asked to do the role if the function does not want to learn BPM skills (e.g., a legal department) or if the organization does not have the bandwidth to provide an internal facilitator. An external Team Facilitator is also helpful if the BPI team is large (more than 12 people).

But my preference is to have an internal Team Facilitator.  Who might that be?  All of these organizational roles could be a BPI Facilitator:  Business Analyst, Lean Six Sigma Practitioner, PMO Project Manager, or a Process Improvement Specialist.  Each of these roles might have some skills to learn or unlearn.

Part 2 of this blog provides skills for the Team Facilitator in four areas:  General Facilitation, BPM Methodology, Interpersonal, and Political. It suggests what the Business Analyst, Lean Six Sigma Practitioner, PMO Project Manager, and Process Improvement Specialist need to learn and unlearn. 

Want to learn more about the Team Facilitator role and all the roles in a BPI project.  Register for my online workshop, Starting and Organizing a BPM Project, Sept. 24 and 25. 

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