Process Mapping, Process Improvement, and Process Management

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Process Mapping

Process Mapping, Process Improvement, and Process Management

 A Book Review

Process redesign and management can be a daunting task for organizations, begging the question, “Where do I begin?” Process Mapping, Process Improvement, and Process Management by Dan Madison presents a detailed, illustrated road map for readers to create a customized process redesign methodology for particular organizational challenges. From diagnosing a “broken” process to design principles and best practices, Madison (along with several other contributing authors) introduces a useful text for both readers seeking a comprehensive guide and experts looking for a quick reference.

 

Symptoms of a Broken Process

 

An often challenging step in process improvement is actually identifying something that needs to be fixed. How do you know which processes to analyze? How do you diagnose a “broken” process?

 

Madison recommends Four Lenses of Analysis to closely examine processes:

 

 

The Frustration Lens

 

Through this lens, a process is diagnosed by the people actually working within the process. As the name suggests, the idea behind this type of analysis is to identify the frustrations, hurdles, and challenges faced by participants in the process.

 

This lens can be especially useful for creating participant buy-in and engagement. Allowing someone to “vent” about their frustrations and then seeing that they are being heard can generate excitement and encourage the sharing of possible solutions and ideas. Alternatively, it is important to create a safe environment for participants by establishing discussion rules so that personal accusations and bottlenecks do not occur when every irritation is shared.

 

 

The Time Lens

 

Customer satisfaction and cost reduction are both important facets of the time lens. With the time lens, one should focus on non value-added steps in a process and determine how to reduce or eliminate waste.

 

Having a clear process map is the best way to start estimating time for each step in that process. Madison notes that one of the major phases of time spent in a process is the “rework” phase, where a deliverable must be fixed or adjusted due to work that was not completed correctly the first time. Rework, along with waiting and moving times, are obvious non value-added phases that should be reduced as much as possible while still maintaining quality.

 

 

The Cost Lens

 

Utilizing the cost lens of process analysis is beneficial for a number of reasons, especially when approaching process redesign. Establishing a baseline process cost to be compared to the cost of a redesign is imperative to calculating return on investment. Further, knowing how much each step in a process costs can help guide decisions to reduce or eliminate non value-added work. Madison provides several worksheets for the reader to reference for this level of analysis.   

 

 

The Quality Lens

 

When a customer evaluates a product or service, quality criteria are generally ranked as some of the most important in the decision making process. With the quality lens, one can identify problems and examine the priority of addressing those problems. The cost and time lenses may also come into play here since quality problems may impact costs and time spent in a process.

Madison provides a number of useful tools and techniques for “error-proofing” a process simply and practically. Apart from the familiar “5 Whys” and Fishbone diagrams a la Six Sigma, other charts and check sheets help identify and prioritize quality issues quickly.

 

Process Mapping, Process Improvement, and Process Management

Without a doubt, Madison’s Process Mapping, Process Improvement, and Process Management has something for everyone: a complete, step-by-step guide to process mapping and redesign as well as tools and a quick reference for experienced process improvement professionals. Although not specifically discussed in this review, be sure to check out Madison’s 38 “best practices” for process design (Chapter 10) for a nice summary of key concepts presented throughout the book.     

Reflection Questions: Apart from the Four Lenses of Analysis, what other factors should be considered when diagnosing a broken process? What are some of your process redesign “best practices?”

 

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Reference

Madison, D. J. (2005). Process Mapping, Process Improvement, and Process Management. Chico, CA: Paton Press, LLC.

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