When To Fix The Process, Not The Break
There are many ways to deal with ineffective and inefficient process. You can create workarounds. You can bubble-wrap it with additional processes as a form of assurance. You can always do nothing, especially if you don’t care enough about the results at stake. And sometimes – if you are serious about long-term value of the process – you can fix the root cause itself.
cibsys has recently conducted a process efficiency review for one of our clients. Within that assessment, weidentifiedactivities in the operational process that were a form of assurance rather than value-adding activities. Effort-intensive manual intervention was used to assure that system errors were caught before appearing to customers. Such manual intervention, of course, did not address the root cause of the problem. Neither did it guarantee timely and appropriate fixes.
In that particular case, it was decided that improving the automated process to eliminate manual intervention (i.e. root cause fix) was the most viable course of action. But before deciding on approach you will always need to assess the relevance of the process to the overall business objectives. What exactly does the process hinder? If you are using workarounds, how much do the workarounds cost?
Conducting a pain-value analysis to understand the impact of the problem on the business will help you define the best course of action. As a process owner, talk to your process practitioners to understand their day-to-day challenges and garner input. They will tell you how much effort they spent dealing with the ineffective process. They will give you an insight into the risks of sticking to the status quo. And then you can make an informed decision: fix the process or keep fixing the breaks.
Even though it might seem easier to focus on process outcomes (after all, that’s what top management is interested in!), it is crucial to take a critical look at the process itself. It is by proactively fixing the root cause that you will achieve more desirable and consistent outcomes.