Discovering and unraveling the processes within an organization can be among the most thankless, gnarly, investigative activities one can undertake. The effort can also be among the most important, and is one of the 4 Pillars of Change. After all, every single process in an organization must have a customer. Without a customer, a process has no reason for being.
JT & 321 Ignite‘s focus on change processes is tied to these Four Pillars of Change.
Business processes are how things get done within an organization. They can be closely tied and dependent on infrastructure and systems (discussed below) as well as tied to how individuals work. Often taken for granted, they need to be sought out, brought into the light, and clearly understood.
Some processes are poorly understood because they may be undocumented, buried inside other processes, or more simply seen as, ‘the way we do things here.’ Many are simply unstructured. Others are readily recognized as major backbones of the organization: defining how initial customer orders are received, processed, fulfilled, and billed.
When defining a change management process one core problem is an organization’s ability to recognize it’s own shortcomings. As a consultant, JT has assessed multiple business units in an organization, and been able to see holes, gaps, that the organization itself was simply not capable of seeing.
Processes can be among the darkest, gnarliest, most inconvenient aspects of change. Even the most harmless of processes can have very real business impact.
Consider: An organization began making changes to its customer support organization, involving physically relocating some of the team members. Suddenly, when sending out software updates to customers, data was being received corrupted. The process had long been established. Data corruption never had occurred before. Suddenly, it was happening with alarming frequency.
Data, too large to download productively, was being sent overnight using physical storage devices. On careful investigation, it was discovered the software distribution clerk had ended up having less desk space.
Her inbox now sat atop her monitor and, putting the outgoing customer data into her inbox, was quickly becoming corrupted. Moving the inbox away from the monitor solved the issue. But not until after thousands of dollars had been wasted.
Many change processes do not need to pay attention at such a granular level. However it is a simple example of how not paying attention to process sufficiently can prevent success.