Making Business Process Flows More Productive

by bobroan on February 6, 2013

What does it mean to make these flows “more productive?”

According to this report from the consulting firm McKinsey, many organizations can get a 25 – 30% increase in the productivity of how they use email, gather and find information, and communicate and collaborate internally.  Considering that these activities comprise up to 60% of the workweek, the potential increased productivity could free up 6 hours a week!

One thing we’ve learned from management theory is that if we pay attention to it, we can probably do it better.

So the first step is to pay attention to your business processes and the flows that support them.  You can take three straightforward steps to do this:

    1. Create a flow diagram, either manually, or with a flow charting program like Microsoft Visio, including who does each task and the estimated time required.
    2. Itemize which of the flow outputs (see the previous blog explaining this) you’re getting
    3. Think about what other flow outputs would help

This is your benchmark productivity.

Next, think of a potentially useful change, and

    1. Phrase it in the form of a hypothesis: If we do this, we think the outputs will change to this and the inputs will change to this (this could be as simple as “if we send these additional management updates, we’ll be able to speed up these processes,”)
    2. Write down the hypothesis in a place where it can be saved and referenced.  One of the LEAST productive ways to spend time is exploring the same change multiple times.  If you don’t remember the changes you’ve already considered, you’re bound to repeat some of them.
    3. Determine if that seems like a good trade-off and record the results of your analysis.  If it seems like a good trade-off, then,
    4. Make the change and measure the new inputs and outputs and record these results as well, and
    5. See if the change was worth it.

K​eep at it.

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