Intro to Process Management: How to Make Business Decisions with Purpose
You’ve heard the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But with process management, you may want to throw that saying out the window. In business, things don’t have to be broken in order to benefit from regular and even constant improvement. In fact, constant improvement is often the best way for businesses to grow and streamline operations.
By implementing process management, businesses are persistently evaluating and re-evaluating the status quo, leading to short- and long-term process improvement. So what is process management, and how can you use it to improve processes now and in the future?
What Is Process Management?
While “process management” may sound like just another buzzword, you might actually be using it already in your current business operations. Just like it sounds, process management is the way that your organization manages processes—but what are processes, anyway?
Processes are steps you take in business in order to accomplish your goals. But when thinking about processes, it’s important not to equate them with things like projects or tasks, which are often one-time jobs that have start and end dates. However, projects and tasks often depend on set processes to run smoothly.
Who Uses Process Management?
If you’re involved in management of any kind, you’re probably familiar with process management. Whether you’re attempting to streamline the way your team communicates with each other, or the ways that new hires are on-boarded, your organization depends on processes management to accomplish day-to-day tasks. In turn, these tasks dictate the bigger picture of your company.
When using process management, your company analyzes specific processes across your organization. If you regularly find yourself wondering how to improve processes, chances are you’re already employing process management.
You might be asking yourself: “If I’m already using process management in my work, what more do I need to know?” Well, the fact that you’re already thinking about process management is a good thing. What you might need to work on is results—or ensuring your process management isn’t done in vain. Your actions should have concrete results at the end of the day.
How Can You “Manage Processes?”
In his book Done Right, Workfront CEO Alex Shootman gives an example of a software update that was expected to take two years to implement—but instead took 10. While well-meant, the update ultimately created more problems than it was worth.
This example shows that any type of process management must be rooted in knowledge, analysis, and intention. In the book, Kathy Haven, VP and director of strategic operations at global advertising and marketing agency FCB said, “I typically will start off any project—whether it’s a deployment or a process improvement—by asking users, ‘Why are we doing this?’ and ‘What’s in this for you?’” According to Kathy, if users cannot answer those questions satisfactorily, that’s a red flag.
If you’re able to answer the above questions with confidence, all that’s waiting is process management implementation. The steps of process management are many and varied, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. But generally, process management will involve the following steps, usually in this order:
- Analyze your process: Is it working? What could be working better?
- Revamp your process: Figure out the changes that need to be made for improvement.
- Implement your changes: The only way to figure out if your changes work is to put them to work.
- Monitor your changes: Are they helping? Is there anything they could be doing better?
- Manage your process: Own your changes and always be willing to try the latest idea.
- Automate your process: Now that you know it’s working, make your process management software do the work for you.
If you’re in a management position, it’s important to keep your eyes open to new processes that can help make things simpler in your business. But the great thing about process management is that it doesn’t always involve implementing new systems or processes—it can also involve tweaking current processes to adapt to industry best practices.
Implement Better Processes with Process Management Technology
A great way to improve your process management without having to devote all your time to it is utilizing process management technology. Because process management is such a broad topic, the benefits of process management technology can also be very broad.
Regardless, 86% of U.S. workers feel that automation will help companies think in new and exciting ways. With automated process management, your company could open the doors to increased employee productivity and even a boosted bottom line. These short-term benefits could be the catalyst for long-term benefits, such as standing out from the competition or making lasting changes.
- Agility: Resistance to change is often the final nail in the coffin for businesses—even those that are relatively new. Technology and industry practices are constantly changing, and the risk of missing out on positive changes is very real. Process management keeps your business agile and open-minded—adaptable to every new technology, system, or process that comes your way.
- Reduced risk: One of the biggest issues for companies is the risk of human error. Think about it: An employee who is overworked and overtired is bound to make an error, even with processes they have done a hundred times. Process management software and risk management reduces the risk of human error—and can even correct errors before they cause any damage.
- Dependable results: Everyone has their way of doing things, but process management software helps to make processes consistent, leading to reliable results and less confusion. Process management technology can identify the processes that work best and make them the standard in your company.
- Employee morale: None of this matters unless you have employees who appreciate process management. If they don’t like your current processes or don’t find them useful, process management technology is your chance to improve them for all departments.
The Importance of Automated Process Management for Businesses
Fixing one process may solve your immediate problem, but what will happen a year down the road? If you’re not employing process management technology, you may encounter the same issues—and in turn, wasted time.
Today, automation is viewed as a real game-changer in many aspects of business—and 44% of employees are requesting even more digital tools at work. Thus, automated process management is invaluable. Businesses can virtually eliminate manual processes, allowing day-to-day processes to run without a hitch.
When done manually, reviewing projects and giving feedback are easy to become lost or swept under the rug. With automated process management, businesses can accomplish all that and more in one place. Users can not only review and give feedback faster, but they can also help others do their jobs better. In short, process management technology helps you get the most out of your business.