Processes might not be sexy but they are important. One thing you learn very quickly as an information worker is that defining and executing good processes will provide efficiency, repeatability, and effectiveness.
Just like anything a good process is not easy to develop but time spent developing is usually well worth it. What people often don’t realize is that processes have a lifespan where they are born, they develop and they die.
- Develop: Developing a process requires that you have the right people at the table. When developing a process always think about the primary purpose of the process. Keep in mind what are the necessary and repeatable steps to achieve that purpose.
It is essential to understand the lifespan of a process. Sometimes you may need to develop a process that you know will only have a short lifetime because of a change in technology and therefore the level of effort put into developing the process should be reflected in that shorter process lifespan.
- Test: A process needs to be tested so that it does what it is supposed to do. Ideally there will be a quality metric and a way to measure that metric to ensure the process is performing per set standards. Testing is essential at both the initial process development stage but also developing ongoing testing is important to understand if the process is working as intended.
Some types of testing processes could be peer review testing, automated script testing, and quality metric verification testing to name a few. There are a lot of different types of testing that exist and you just need to ensure that initial and continuous testing needs for the particular process are established.
- Document: Any good process is not developed until it is documented so don’t forget this important step. The process should be documented clearly step-by-step so that someone with the same skills as the person performing the process should be able to repeat it. Documenting the process provides value in not only helping ensure that knowledge is not lost but also that if audit comes a knocking you can happily answer the door.
Sometimes having a high-level and detailed process is warranted if it is a highly complicated process. The high-level process documentation will allow you to better communicate to executives and customers. The detailed process documentation will provide the detailed repeatable process.
- Communicate: Not every process needs to be communicated but many do. If a new process is being put in place to help reduce customer fraud or increasing customer question resolution then take the opportunity to communicate this process. This communication may be internal and/or external depending on the circumstances. The degree of communication is really situation dependent but making a conscious decision on what to do regarding new process communication is essential step of process development.
- Improve: No process is perfect from the start so there always can be process improvement. The more challenging question is whether resources should be spent improving a process or is it good enough. Not everything can be analyzed to the utmost degree but empowering and encouraging people executing the process to continue improving the process is essential to process improvement.
Having a process for process change is also important to layout for people to understand and follow. This would include things like determining if additional communication is needed if a process is changed and ensuring process documentation is updated with any process changes.
WLP Tip No. 2: Remember no matter who you are processes are important. Follow the process development steps of a) develop, b) test, c) document, d) communicate, and e) improve in order to establish efficient, repeatable, and effective processes.
Process development is not easy and not always fun but good processes payoff and will increase revenues, reduce risk, increase customer satisfaction, and much more.
Have an awesome week and remember to do something today to supercharge your success.
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