A financial department of a large technology company had employees working long hours and even staying overnight every quarter when financial information was due. The SVP realized this could not go on. He provided his leadership, selected a team of internal subject matter experts, and chose an internal project lead and external BPM practitioner to concentrate on the project. The initiative had many quick wins and a long term plan that involved automation of the global process. Here the company was in the EXPERIMENT stage, the first stage of a successful BPM Project.
To read more about these three stages and how to bring them to life in your company, go to the full white paper, Why Improvements Evaporate: How to Take 3 Steps Forward Without 2 Steps Back.
As they entered the EXTEND stage, they added some critical components to foster additional success. They hired a full time BPM practitioner to spearhead transformation and build leader and employee skills; they selected larger cross-functional projects and piloted the methodology they would use; and they created a definition for success: each improved process would improve operational clarity, impact metrics, and impact key decisions.
All along, the SVP maintained his role as a catalytic sponsor. The BPM practitioner set stretch goals but understood that the organization needed time to crawl, then walk, then run. In the “crawl” stage, she supported each process improvement effort with a change management plan that enabled the business function to Transition from recommendations to implementation and then do ongoing maintenance in the regular work. In the “walk” stage, she added Stabilization, which meant she helped the business owner maintain operations on their own by defining a responsibility matrix, service level agreements and more. In the “run” phase, she added Optimization, which meant that the group’s leader maintained his own continuous improvement cycle, and brought new improvement ideas from the regular work to the senior leadership team. Here, these ideas are evaluated for relevance, potential return, and current resource availability. Clearly this “run” stage is part of Make It the Way We Do Business Every Day. This crawl, walk and run process was set up to support movement through the stages, and to enable leaders and employees to embed improvements in the daily work.