Published on August 19, 2009
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook Introduction Factory floors of large companies are embodiment of best allocation of people and resources working at optimum levels on a consistent basis. Yet, offices often lack the same regimen. They are more people‐centric and work processes are more ad‐hoc. Some of the people and resource organisation techniques used in factories have been tailored for office use. Office TPM and 5S have transformed some cabins. The work‐processes, however, do not seem to get the same attention. In my work life I have attempted to identify and document the processes. Early attempts were ad hoc and led to development of a strategy I outline below. I used this documented strategy, modified versions actually, to identify and thereafter improve office processes. The processes in question were often mundane like emails to interested prospective clients, or ignored like process for selecting dealers. In the three offices I have attempted these two were spectacularly successful. In the other case the processes were documented but not improved, a part success. Without further ado, let me share with you the process itself. License The work can be shared for noncommercial use through proper attribution as explained in Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike 3.0 Unported License © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook Objective The objective of this process is to assist the team in mapping the processes effectively. This process lists out ways and means to explore, probe the current practices prevalent in the team, and effectively document these. Process Details Item Details Process Name Process Documentation Process Process Owner Person driving this activity Process Approver Team leader or decision maker Validation Details Date of Implementation Date of Expiry Date of Modification Details of Modification Item Modification Details © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook Definitions Following are some of the important definitions used in this document: Process Process is defined as: • Human activities used to create, invent, design, transform, produce, control, maintain, and use products or systems. • A systematic sequence of actions that combines resources to produce an output. • A group of business activities undertaken by an organisation in pursuit of a common goal. Typical business processes include receiving orders, marketing services, selling products, delivering services, distributing products, invoicing for services, accounting for money received. A business process usually depends upon several business functions for support, e.g. IT, personnel, accommodation. A business process rarely operates in isolation, i.e. other business processes will depend on it and it will depend on other processes Executor Executor is the person who is actually following the process to achieve the objective of the process. For a typical ‘write renewal letter’ process the person who is writing the letter will be “executor”. Players Players are people who are involved in the execution but who are not the executors of the process. They are not directly achieving the objectives of the process. To achieve his objective “Executor” takes help from “Players”. Resources Resources refer to those resources that the “executor” and the “players” use for executing the process. These could be databases, templates, standard documents etc. This will help us arrive at the resources list that we need to keep updated and use effectively to achieve the best result for the processes. © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook Triggers The process will be triggered in the following instances: 1. Whenever the team undertakes a new responsibility hereto not mapped or not incorporated within the process framework. 2. Whenever a break‐through development takes place within the team. © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook Procedure 1. Start with the template. 1.1. The template is available in (location on company intranet). 2. Define Objective: Define clearly what the objective of that process is. In other words, please identify what the process will achieve if followed correctly. 2.1. Please consult the team leader if you have any problems in defining the objective of the process. 2.2. Once the objective of the process is clear, please name the process using an action statement. 3. Process Details: Enter the Process Details as required. 3.1. Validation Details will be filled in once the documentation is complete. 3.2. The Process Implementation Date will be filled in last. 3.3. The Process Validity needs to be decided by the Group when the Process map is presented. 4. List General Steps: Write out the broad steps we usually take in the process. 4.1. Please note that we document the “followed” process and not the “ideal” process. 5. Preliminary Research: 5.1. Take inputs from other teams across the company if required. 5.2. Use library resources. 5.3. Interactions with team members. 6. AsIs Process Mapping: Understanding what process is followed 6.1. Based on the broad steps design a questionnaire to be administered to the team members. The questionnaire should: 6.1.1. Identify the steps that other team members follow. 6.1.2. Probe for “sub‐steps” in each step and identify how to execute each sub‐step. © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook 6.1.3. Identify challenging “sub‐steps”. Challenging “sub‐steps” typically are: 220.127.116.11. Bottleneck resources. 18.104.22.168. Critical sub‐step without which the process fails to achieve its objective. 22.214.171.124. Identify how to overcome these challenges. 6.1.4. Ask how team members take the process forward in absence of the executor. The questionnaire should seek ways and means to make the process work in the absence of the executor. 6.2. Administer the questionnaire to the team. 6.2.1. Please note that the questionnaire / interview should not bias the interviewee about the learning from other teams and from books. 126.96.36.199. If there is some glaring improvement you have learnt from other sources ask the same at the last. 188.8.131.52. The objective is first to understand what we do then to find out why we do not use those “improvements”. 6.2.2. Administer to all the team members if required. 6.2.3. Administer to at least two people from sub‐teams if any. 6.3. Get all the templates used by team members 6.4. Identify all the players in the process. 6.5. Identify all the resources in the process 6.6. Compile the responses from the team. 7. Finalize the process 7.1. Please document the process as currently followed. 7.1.1. First make the process flow chart. Use the connectors to connect 7.1.2. Then write the details. 7.1.3. Show both to the approver before you present the same to the group. © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook 7.1.4. Number each box in the flow diagram and develop the text based on this sequence. Sub process should be numbered as 1.1, 1.2 or 1.11, 1.1.1, 1.2.1 and so on. 7.2. Please document the suggested improvements separately. 8. Design Metrics 8.1. Metrics are used to measure how well we can adhere to the process. 8.2. Please note first the process is documented then metrics are designed. 8.3. The philosophy behind designing a metric is that it is meant for self‐ improvement and not for “policing”. 8.4. As mentioned the metrics are of four types: 8.4.1. Quality Metrics 8.4.2. Efficiency Metrics 8.4.3. Control Metrics 8.4.4. Result Metrics. 8.5. Identify what we need to measure 8.6. Consult the team members and brainstorm to arrive at means to measure the items listed by earlier step. 8.7. Apply the SMART test on each of the metric. 8.8. Share the metrics and the SMART test findings with a few team members. (Preferably those whom you have interviewed earlier) 8.9. Develop all the metrics you can think of. 8.10. Map all the metrics on the process flow chart. 9. Design Review Mechanism 9.1. The review mechanism will be across process itself and metrics. 9.2. Identify parameters that will need review based on your understanding. These parameters should address: 9.2.1. Role Clarification for roles of all the players in the process. © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook 9.2.2. Resource usage. 9.3. Identify time required to review the process. Set trigger to alert before process expiry. 9.4. Feedback based reviews will depend upon the kind of feedback received. They would be devised in consultation with the director and the heads. 10. Make the presentation to the group. 10.1. Present the entire process in detail along with the sub‐step. 10.2. Explain each sub‐step. 10.3. Highlight the challenging Sub‐steps along with solutions to overcome or execute those. 10.4. Present all the templates used by the team members in this process. 10.5. Present some innovative steps others follow based on step 5. Let the group decide which steps to incorporate into the process. 10.6. Present all the metrics let the group decide which to keep. 10.6.1. Metrics need to be whetted by team leaders, Heads and Directors separately. 10.7. Get the commitment on the Implementation Date. 10.7.1. Work based on changes to be made in the document based on group input. 10.7.2. Time required for circulating the documentation. 10.7.3. Also factor time for queries and general familiarization with the steps. 10.8. Get groups opinion on Process expiry date. 11. Revising the Process Document 11.1. Based on the suggestions of the group review the documentation and update the same. 11.2. Share the updated documents with Approver. © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook 11.3. Print out of the finalized process. 12. Implementing the Process: This step involves key activities to be done after all the documentation is complete. 12.1. Process Book Reference 12.1.1. The documents must be approved and signed by the approver. 12.1.2. Once the same is done. Convert the same into PDF. 12.1.3. Make a separate PDF for the process flow chart. 12.1.4. Send these to all the team members with instructions to keep the printout of the process flow chart as a ready reference. © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook Metrics It is important to measure the process documentation. These are following metrics are proposed for the current process. Quality Metrics Metric Scale Rating Comment Clarity of Objective Yes / No Upgradeability Yes / No Workable Solution V/s Ideal Yes / No Solution Minimal Paperwork Yes / No Documentation Complete? Yes / No Efficiency Metrics Metric Scale Rating Comment Time Spent Desk Research Low / Ok / Hi Designing Questionnaire Low / Ok / Hi Meeting Other team Low / Ok / Hi members Meeting the team Low / Ok / Hi Process Documentation Low / Ok / Hi Presentation Low / Ok / Hi Control Metrics Metric Scale Rating Comment Questionnaire completion date Days 4 days Interview completion date Days 5 days Approver Submission Date Date Presentation Date Date Result Metrics Metric Scale Rating Comment Process Accepted by Approver Changes Minor/Major Process Accepted by Group Changes Minor/Major © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook Process Flow Diagram Guidelines for making Process flow diagram: 1) The Process will be indicated in a box. 2) Each box is numbered. a. If the process given to you is numbered x then each box within this process will be numbered x.1, x.2,..x.9,x.10,x.11, etc. b. Sub processes (sub‐steps within the main box) will be numbered as x.1.1, x.1.2, etc. 3) As mentioned first make the box and line chart and each box will be explained in the procedure section. 4) If explanation for a box is lengthy and tedious, break it into sub‐activities. © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
Process Documentation and Improvement Ebook Process flow diagram for Documenting Processes 1.1 1.2 1.3 Start with the template Define Process Objective Fill in Process Details 1.5 1.4 Preliminary Research List General Steps 1.6 1.7 1.8 As is Process Mapping Finalize Process Design Metrics 1.6.1 Design Questionnaire 1.9 Design Review Mechanism 1.6.2 Administer Questionnaire 1.10 1.6.3 Present to the team Get Templates used 1.6.4 1.11 Identify Players Revise based on Feedback 1.6.5 Identify Resources 1.12 Implement the Process 1.6.6 Compile team responses © Rahul Deodhar 2009 www.rahuldeodhar.com
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