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“I had a programming background and needed to see the bigger picture in the health care organization where I was working. Shelley's teaching was very good, she was approachable, and had a wealth of stories that I could benefit from.

I got really pumped up from the class. I realized that I needed to get more information up front to build improved processes. I had a new way of identifying roadblocks in processes and had methods to redesign processes to make them more effective. I saw that I had to take responsibility for influencing improvements vs. depending on others. In just three days after I got back to the office, I identified why an installation project had been floundering for several months, took action, and moved the project along!”

Debby Bearden,
Information Technology
St. John Health System

 

How Do Your BPM Metrics Measure Up?

Peter Fingar, co-author of  Business Process Management:  The Third Wave,  wrote this article “How Do Your BPM Metrics Measure Up?”in 2013.  It re-iterates two important questions:

  1. Are we doing things right?
  2. Are we doing the right things?

And then he asks the measurement corollaries:

  1. Are we measuring things right?
  2. Are we measuring the right things?

But what are these right measurements? John Dixon, Gartner analyst, articulates seven best practices.

  1. Focus on Outcomes – measure the results, not the completion of steps or milestones to get there.
  2. Limit the number of measures.  Not fifteen, but just a few.
  3. Set clear, specific goals. The leaders must have clear goals and they need to articulate them.
  4. Link metrics to strategy.  The metrics need to show how work impacts the company’s strategy.
  5. Measure current performance.  Know how you are doing today, so you can see if anything changes in the future.
  6. Look ahead, not just back.  Metrics are not just to see what happened historically.  Metrics should cause action today. 
  7. Make metrics visible and accessible. Having workers, managers, supervisors,  and executives see metrics helps employees make decisions and take action. If only executives see them on a monthly dashboard, it is too infrequent, too late, and too inaccessible.

But the next question is – How do you really do all this?  My course, Starting and Organizing a BPM Project covers all these topics (and several more).  Peter’s and John’s concepts totally support the measurement guidelines and practices that are covered in the course.  Thank you. I may have come first but Peter and John Dixon said it with more publicity.

Below are examples of TIPS (in orange) from the virtual course Starting and Organizing a BPM Project to select measurements that are meaningful and have an impact on results. 

  1. Focus on Outcomes – Select measures that track the outcomes of the process from a product standpoint and customer standpoint.  These should be results that provide value to the customer.
  2. Limit the number of measures.  I say limit it to two or three. Start with that number and use them.
  3. Set clear, specific goals.  Starting a BPM Project successfully means creating a Project Charter with the Process Owner, Executive Sponsor, Project Lead and Team Facilitator.  And in that charter are specific Improvement Targets; for each Improvement Target there needs to be one metric.
  4. Link metrics to strategy. It’s not only the metrics that should link to the strategy.  The Improvement Targets need to be aligned with the strategy.  So you need to discuss that with the Process Owner and Executive Sponsor.
  5. Measure current performance.  This starts with gathering baseline data for the metrics designated for each Improvement Target.
  6. Look ahead, not just back.  All metrics is they must drive decisions and action.  If you measure something and don’t do anything with the measure, it’s no good. So think carefully about what action you will take with any metric, and discard it if no action is identified.  
  7. Make metrics visible and accessible. Metrics should be visible on the shop floor, or on the wall, or if on the desktop with mechanisms to have alerts about changes or concerns.  A file on the desktop is not visible enough unless it is naturally accessed frequently.

Here are some more questions about metrics that Starting and Organizing a BPM Project answers:

  • How do you make a BPM Project simple and successful?
  • Where do you get BPM metrics since most companies only measure financial and employee information?
  • What measurement categories are best?

Want to learn more?  Go to Starting and Organizing a BPM Project, and register for the next class, March 3 and 4.  There’s a 15% off coupon through Feb. 15.

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