Big organizations are changing quickly
It’s not news that all big organizations are changing quickly at the moment. Trends like layoff rounds, different visions and goals, changing markets, and so on, are daily occurrences. Change is the most stable factor at the moment. Innovation, speed, flexibility, and taking advantage of the changing market are crucial factors.
There’s a demand for a faster time to market, other products and services that are a better fit for this moment. But having to react quickly to new developments like social media, online sales, and the explosive growth of data has a downside: how can the organization keep everything under control, and how do you know if everything is going well?
Changing the organization’s direction
Every organization is going in a certain direction, usually stated in the mission or vision. The mission and vision usually don’t change in the short term. But the market, customers, products, and services can change. These also typically don’t change very quickly, however. The underlying reasons for this are the strategy, IT, processes, and the information supply.
Given the data, developments of products and services, and the need for more control and grip, this is where the biggest changes take place. The focus of companies is currently on making sure their processes are in order. Information systems that support this goal will change less, but the infrastructure, on the other hand, will see a lot of change.
Analyzing processes from a different paradigm
So, plenty of reasons to zoom in on processes. When we talk about processes, a lot of people are quick to think of diagrams in Visio or similar tools. That’s an outdated way of thinking. Given the speed of change and their impact, it’s smarter to look at processes in broad strokes. Processes have to give an overview, provide insight, and offer structure. So processes shouldn’t be described in granular details, but at a higher level of abstraction. That doesn’t only require a different way of thinking, but also working smarter.
This is where elements of the PDCA masterclass come into play. Both the strategy, the vision with key performance indicators, and the behavior (dealing with new paradigms) demand a lot from employees. The processes connect all these elements, so it’s good to consider the value of process management.
The value of processes
Firstly, processes provide insight. This happens while making a model and after it. You’ll be looking at the process from different perspectives, which can provide new insights. Naturally, this also requires a high degree of empathy, thinking, and acting. Looking at processes from different perspectives breeds discussion. The models structure these discussions.
Somewhere along the line things will have to be documented. Sometimes this comes from regulations, sometimes from quality concerns, or working instructions. The models are a good starting point for this. Models can serve as verification. Mistakes can be shown structurally and precisely, which supports the Deming circle.
The numbers tell the tale
The saying “the numbers tell the tale” still applies. Performance can be measured, and a method like simulation can be used to understand the factors that matter. The “happy” (or optimal) flow is usually easily mapped. It becomes interesting when you deliberately build in a disruption and then analyze what happens. That gives insight into the organization’s capacity for improvement and problem-solving.
Models like a strategy map can also be used (in an earlier phase) for scenarios or animations. A what-if scenario can be ideal for an end-user to give feedback to the designer in an early stage. Models are typically used as a blueprint for a building phase. Based on the model, the building phase is made, the models can serve as a “contract” between the developer and the end-user/administrator. Finally, it doesn’t need to be explained that models can be used to configure a system.
PDCA workshop: A good first step
The focus of organizations is shifting from Information Technology to Business Technology, and we’re happy to discuss the renewed and changing demand for meta models on a higher level of process description with you. The first step is the PDCA masterclass, where the processes are discussed.