Conducting an effective business review process ensures that your company operations produce the desired results in the most efficient manner. For example, you might conduct a business process review before purchasing new hardware or software. To conduct a business process review, assemble a team of people representing all levels of the organization affected by any changes to the current business process. Assembling the right people can help you identify problems, determine potential improvements, assign project managers, implement quick fixes and develop a long-term plan.
Map your Current Process
List the critical business processes used to produce your products and services. Discuss problems in the current environment, such as delays in receiving supplies or supplier quality issues. Hold a series of meetings for the team to brainstorm ideas about why the problems exist and how to handle them. Conduct research to learn how other companies handle similar problems. Use free business process mapping tools, such as Gliffy, Bonita Open Solution or Questetra BPM, to document your current process.
Observe Processes in Action
Review the documented business processes to ensure the details accurately reflect the way that business works. For example, distribute troubleshooting procedures to all personnel handling customer service calls. Observe personnel using the procedures and make note of any deviation to identify if personnel need additional skills, knowledge, training or experience to make the business process work effectively.
Identify Potential Changes
Determine how the changes may impact current procedures. Observe personnel completing tasks to validate assumptions. Interview workers to gather their input about the process problems faced by your organization. Conduct a survey or run focus groups to collect their ideas for improvement. Don’t assume you know the right solution, such as buying new hardware or software, without understanding how the new system affects the organization.
Design a New Process
Redesigning business processes involves ensuring that all processes for company functions align to current strategic goals. Fine-tune the process based on the analysis conducted as part of the business process review. Review your new process with the team to determine dependencies between organizations and potential problems. Document all changes recommended by the business process review team and publish the conclusions in a newsletter, email or other company communication mechanism.
Evaluate your Implementation
The previous process review steps create a new process. Now, you need to measure operational activities, such as customer satisfaction, product defects or costs, to determine if improvements generated by your review have had an impact. Conduct subsequent reviews and adjust your processes accordingly if no improvements have been made within the expected time frame.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.