Process evaluation is the fundamental first step to most business process management and process projects.
Without a thorough discovery and analysis of the current state, it's difficult to get off on the right foot for any project, let alone an implementation designed to improve overall process efficiency and function inside of an organization.
In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of the actual discovery. Now, let's focus specifically on the evaluation - you know what your processes are (or should be), but do you know why they are that way?
In a strong evaluation, both a quantitative and qualitative method will be implemented, most often by a third-party process improvement consultant. Many BPM software vendors will have access to these consultants as part of their implementation. Often times, a single process consultation will be a complimentary first step from a vendor who is confident they can help you simplify your business process environment.
Methods can (and often will) include:
- Interviews - Open ended questions regarding feelings, knowledge, opinions, experiences and perceptions - this yields in quantitative and qualitative results that give experiential data from the front line workers to the top level executives
- Focus Groups
- Forums and discussion groups
- In-depth interviews - key informant or other community members, semi-structured and structured
- Observations by process experts of daily workflow
- Case studies
All methods should yield information regarding the best first steps towards a BPM plan.
As an organization, you can often expect an engaging, small group of process professionals to ask you questions you may not have ever thought about. Why are you doing the work you do, the way you are doing it?
This is the evaluation team's main job: to perfect your processes, and (if associated with a software vendor) to be the valuable connection between your business processes and the software that will help simplify them.