Have you ever heard the phrase “the evil one is in the information”? I always assumed that this stating was a little strange … till I began to operate in project administration. The funny point is that once I entered task administration this phrase made a lot sense. I can keep in mind being on one job where the task manager was a lot also nearsighted. All she respected was information storage needs as well as basically absolutely nothing else. For this project supervisor, the adversary in the information was never thought of, outside of the confines of information storage space anyhow. On another job, the project manager was so sure of his very own capabilities to “do his work” that he completely disregarded the details entirely. The latter job had some disastrous results … including Social Security deposits being returned to the state that sent them, which subsequently caused that state discontinuing those repayments. Simply put, significant client effects took place due to the fact that people were excessively confident in their very own capacity to adapt to a transforming procedure.
So what does this have to do with project monitoring? Every little thing. If a job is creating something special, after that it stands to factor that there are variables that are known and some that are unidentified. Think about throwing a rock into a lake. You recognize that the rock striking the water will certainly cause a causal sequence on the water’s surface area. What you don’t understand is the number of surges it will trigger or just how far the surges will distribute past the first effect. Process management is a means of taking into account all that may occur as a result of the ripples in the water.
Let’s say that there is a task is to apply new handling software application right into an existing information handling facility. Externally, this looks fairly very easy. The handling center currently exists and the modern technology is currently in place. So other than information technology and/or info systems setting up the brand-new software and some training on how to utilize it, this is a fairly simple task. This amounts throwing the rock into the water. We have a rock, we have water, as well as we know that the rock hitting the water will certainly produce a rippling effect. Problem resolved, right? What takes place if every one of the customers of the new software program are not literally situated in the exact same handling center? Suppose Project Management Professional there are individuals that send out job to the processing facility, by means of messenger, because they are remotely situated and also consequently not able to use the modern technology that is readily available to others? Perhaps this appears unlikely to you given that we live in the 21st century, however I can ensure you that it’s not.
Here’s the essence of the problem. It’s humanity to make presumptions based on minimal knowledge and/or lack of info … especially when dealing with a task. This is why in the Project Monitoring Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is one of the standards for project management, procedure enhancement is included in its Project Quality Administration area. Process renovation, whether you call it process management, procedure design, or process engineering, is essential to guaranteeing that your task is carried out according to range. If the job is developed according to range, however fails when put into manufacturing, the job is a failing as well as its range was never ever met. A basic assumption of a project is that it will work as soon as totally carried out.
Allow’s look at procedure enhancement from more of an organic point ofview. I make use of the term organic since we seldom consider procedure management and job monitoring together. Like project administration, procedure monitoring has advanced into its very own discipline. At its origins however, process monitoring is merely a collection of shapes as well as arrows utilized to highlight a procedure. This is the inherent worth of process monitoring. It permits you to show the process before it is also in position. Put another way, you can set out the procedure prior to the job is also near to being finished.
I stated that at its origins, process management is merely a collection of shapes and also arrowheads utilized to highlight a process. You can map a procedure (also called a flowchart) using as little as three forms, an oval, a rectangle, and a ruby. Each shape represents a certain part of the process. An oval stands for the beginning or end of a procedure … the first or last action. A rectangular shape illustrates an activity. If you put a rectangle-shaped box under an additional box, the second box determines a task. A diamond is a call out for a decision. It demonstrates that there is a yes or no concern within the procedure that needs to be responded to. Surprisingly enough, this simple shape typically is one of the most effective in recognizing spaces (one or more breaks in a process that can trigger rework, customer impact, failing, or any other number of problems) within a task and/or process. The arrows are utilized to guide the “flow” of the procedure from one point to another.
As an example of the win-win of using process monitoring throughout a task, I was just recently on a project where data was being converted from one system to one more. The procedure for this is commonly referred to as data mapping. You map the data and also the areas in the system where they presently reside as well as map them to where they will certainly live in the brand-new system. When this was procedure mapped, the diamond shape was made use of to ask if the data from our division had actually been mapped to the new system. The response was of course. The next activity was to figure out how that information would be identified in the brand-new system, to which no person knew the response. This was a significant gap. If the data had actually been mapped, after that a person should have been able to tell us what that information would appear like in the brand-new system. We rapidly discovered that no one can confirm that our location had been included in the original data mapping. What would the impact had been if after the job no person could locate the data in the new system? Once more process mapping paid for itself, as it typically does.
One more benefit of process mapping is the ability to flowchart the conceptualized procedure. Allow’s say that there are a number of activities that you know need to occur as well as exactly how they will be done. What you might not know is that will certainly do every one of the real work. Think about a finance being stemmed. Somebody is mosting likely to take the lending application; someone is going to process the lending application; a person is going to finance the loan; and also a person is going to close the financing. But who is going to submit the files and will they be checked into an imaging application? This is an unidentified. By flowcharting the procedure you have the ability to take the tasks you understand will certainly occur and afterwards the tasks you “assume” will certainly take place as well as produce an image of the procedure. By utilizing the very same forms, but changing the color or appearance of the “theoretical” ones, you have the ability to show the know activities from the “just how we think it will be” tasks. This enables others to say on the process before there is a dispute, such as incorrect treatments being written or even worse yet, that part of the process being absolutely ignored.
Maybe one of the greatest benefits of procedure mapping, within the context of project management, is that it allows you to better control the work of the project. When the core processes are placed in flowcharts, it is much easier to identify control gaps within the process itself. Control gaps are, in and of themselves, risks within the project. Let’s use the above example of a loan being originated. A decision point (diamond shape) in the process is validating that the loan has been underwritten correctly. What happens if no one validates the underwriting? Or, what if the one validating the underwriting is the same person that underwrote the loan in the first place? Segregation of duties has to be a part of the process in order to protect the integrity of the process itself. A flowchart would show if this control has been sufficiently setup or if there is potential for a control failure.
Finally, the use of swim lanes is another value added dimension of process mapping. Swim lanes are used to track a process through all of the areas that need to be a part of it, in order for the process to be completed. Think of an Olympic pool. You automatically picture a pool with swim lanes, each one belonging to a different swimmer. Again, let’s use the loan origination example. In most cases the origination of a loan takes several areas (called cross-functional areas) working together for a loan to be completely processed. This could entail various areas such as sales, loan application processing, underwriting, closing, and file management. While no single area owns the entire process, they all work a part of the process to ultimately complete a single loan. By employing swim lanes, you segregate each area in the process into its own lane. Then, using the shapes already discussed, you track the process moving from one swim lane to another. This not only illustrates the areas responsible for the entire process, but also the decision points, controls, and ultimately the interdependencies. Getting the process map validated by all of the areas involved seals the deal. Once all agree on the process, a responsibility matrix can be developed and the project is in a better state of control because of it.