A Rose by any name would still smell as sweet!! When Shakespeare wrote those lines, he probably did not need to worry much about being politically correct or present his ideas in a very emotion-sensitive corporate environment like the Human Resources department.
What brought me thinking about this is that, recently I was working on a BPI project. Of course it is with the HR department and for reasons mentioned below, I decided to shun the old BPR terminology. There was a time when BPR was very in vogue. Though, now-a-days you don’t hear much about it.
The new terminology is BPI. It made me wonder as to the logic behind this. So I decided to dig a little more into it. You see, the term BPR which stands for Business Process Reengineering was made quite famous by the Six Sigma methodology (among other reengineering methods) and some very well-known (should I say notorious) corporate re-structuring ventures. Problem started, when employees and onlookers started perceiving ‘all’ reengineering projects as a euphemistic way of telling employees they were terminated. Pretty soon- “BPR” and “You are fired” (hope I did not offend Donald here by using his line :-)) became synonymous.
Now industry has a new term, which is not as threatening to the employees and allows the Process Controls Team to work well in a smooth gear- it is BPI, stands for Business Process Improvement.
Here are some of the basic steps involved in any BPI-
1. Selection of process teams and leader Process teams, comprising 2-4 employees from various departments that are involved in the particular process, are set up. Each team selects a process team leader, typically the person who is responsible for running the respective process. Many times this could be an external SME (subject matter expert) that is brought in to channel and lead the BPI project or the team could choose an internal group person who in turn reports to the SME, in which they are probably called a Project Lead.
2. Process analysis training The selected process team members are trained in process analysis and documentation techniques.
3. Process analysis interview The members of the process teams conduct several interviews with people working along the processes. During the interview, they gather information about process structure, as well as process performance data. Other people from technology including Engineering and IT (information technology) may also get involved in cases where the process involves touch points with software application systems.
4. Process documentation The interview results are used to draw a first process map. Previously existing process descriptions are reviewed and integrated, wherever possible. Possible process improvements, discussed during the interview, are integrated into the process maps.
5. Review cycle The draft documentation is then reviewed by the employees working in the process. Additional review cycles may be necessary in order to achieve a common view, i.e. the real working of the process with all concerned employees. This stage is an iterative process.
6. Problem analysis A thorough analysis of process problems can then be conducted, based on the process map, and information gathered about the process. At this time of the project, process goal information from the strategy audit is available as well, and is used to derive measures for process improvement.
An 11-Step methodology that I have typically used and found very helpful is:
1. Selection of process teams and leader
2. Process analysis criteria
3. Process analysis interview
4. Process documentation
5. Review cycle
6. Problem analysis
7. Design process improvements
8. Document new processes
9. Clean up current system data
10. Setup Governance group with criteria for control measures
11. Deployment, training and sustainment guidance
So in short, the steps are apparently very similar to a BPR, but just by calling it a BPI; you can ensure happier team members- who are less worried and more focused on getting the work done with good cheer.
Hopefully this will get you started on your next BPI initiative...