Business process management is different from business process re-engineering, the radical revamp of business processes to see drastic improvements in performance. BPM is an ongoing process that uses an iterative methodology to make incremental process improvements at a large scale. It’s more reactive than radical. Putting a basic BPM system in place or rushing implementation to go live simply doesn’t do the trick.
Countless successful and not-so-successful BPM experiences have resulted in a set of best practices that are certain to work for a majority of businesses. Iterate the best practices till you find what works for you.
BPM Best Practices
1. Know what to expect
Business process management is a fail-safe discipline to design, streamline, and optimize your end business processes. But BPM benefits different businesses differently. Don’t start with far-reaching, idealistic goals. Start with what you have, with how you actually work instead of how you should work. Grounded goals are easy to materialize, especially in BPM where success is a long-time coming through continuous improvement. When you model a process framework from an idealistic standpoint, you are alienating your team by setting impossibly high standards. Whereas when you set realistic KPIs and emphasize enhancements to the current processes, you will see actual progress rather sooner.
2. Have a performance-based approach
Every business change must be performance-driven. Every improvement you make to the process should be for a reason and performance-based measurement helps you understand if you’re working consistently with the reason. There are many vague and vanity metrics associated with business process management. They don’t give actual visibility into your performance or translate into meaningful results. A performance-based approach to BPM will send a clear message to teams on what they are working towards. Establishing a clear performance mentality is vital to incorporate overall objectives into day-to-day business activities.
3. Define the right KPI
Measure your real-time performances with the right key performance indicators. When you implement a workflow or automate a process, set relevant metrics to measure the result and use the metrics to visualize your progress over time. This helps you hold every activity to achievable standards of results and extrapolate what worked across all organizational activities. Ideally, you should have relevant KPI metrics established from day one for continuous measurement and optimization.
You should also remember to prioritize short-term and time-boxed KPIs that build over time to bigger business objectives. This solves a major problem in process-related improvements, that is, attempting things that barely work or give low returns for an exorbitant amount of time.
4. Take time for implementation
In business process management, an iterative implementation makes more sense rather than an all-or-nothing approach. You may want to get things rolling quickly, but if you don’t focus on calculated implementation, you may suffer oversight or execution mistakes. A rapid-fire implementation can also put tremendous pressure on process owners and gives them access to the entire functionality of a tool they are just getting used to.
Hassle-free process management is a result of rigorous and tactful implementation. Follow the detailed 10-step implementation checklist. Read more.
5. Invest in the right process change
Business process management is still a process that takes strenuous planning mechanisms to arrive at the desired outcome. Plan how to invest in the right process change to get the maximum returns now or in the foreseeable future. When confused, always choose a process that affects your teams and customers the most (core processes) over a process that guides the core process or expands its capabilities (guiding processes). Improve processes that add the most value first.
6. Establish exception rules
Business process management software heavily depends on the pre-written business rules and archetypes to run the operations. The workflows should be structured for the BPM tool to make sense of. But a process framework that relies on a massive number of processes for successful operation is prone to exceptions. You may encounter process additions, process changes, or even one-time ad hoc cases. Unless you have exception rules set in place for adaptive project management, you will find it difficult to accommodate anything that falls out of the BPM archetype. Today’s BPM solutions allow advanced process management tools for optimizing non-recurring processes with ease.
7. Test extensively
Process change or renewal requires iterative assessment wherein you figure out the outcomes and apply them incrementally. As process owners, you should be in total control of the tool. You should be aware of all the directions a process could take and all the outcomes it may elicit. The best way to learn this is by testing the workflows thoroughly. Pilot your workflows for different scenarios and different groups of users and document the outcomes to inform future experiments.
8. Promote user adoption
Instead of giving access to a bunch of users and leaving them on their own, assist them to make the best utility of the BPM software. Don’t forget the important element in the business process management equation, the people. The process is still run by people on all fronts except they now have a system to execute the process step by step. Make the transition to digitized workflows seamlessly with the active participation of people.
9. Address internal difficulties
Adoption of business process management can give rise to a growing influx of technical difficulties or general support requests. BPM is a far more advanced process mapping mechanism to transition seamlessly without trying. You should empower users with complete knowledge of how BPM works within their range of accountability. Keep your dukes up at all times to ensure higher operational efficiency with minimal disruption.
10. Track your BPM journey
At the core of heightened process efficiency, performance, and employee value lies a well-tracked business process management system. Remember, BPM is an ongoing implementation of process changes. You won’t get everything right the first time, you need to track and assess the outcomes to positively influence your next effort. It also helps you spot bottlenecks and inefficiencies and address them immediately. Track your BPM journey closely, as every outcome is a benchmark against which all future outcomes will be measured.
BPM is based on iteration, not perfection
You need to iterate these best practices till you find what aligns with your business strategy. HappyFox offers an effective BPM suite of solutions like HappyFox Workflows, an effective low-code business process automation tool. Accelerate your operations one step at a time, with HappyFox Workflows.
Business process management maximizes your efforts to optimize the process life cycle. Read the complete BPM guide.