Have you ever heard the phrase “the evil one is in the details”? I constantly believed that this saying was a little strange … until I started to operate in task management. The amusing point is that once I got into project administration this expression made a lot feeling. I can bear in mind getting on one project where the project manager was much as well nearsighted. All she respected was information storage space requirements and virtually nothing else. For this task supervisor, the adversary in the details was never ever considered, outside of the boundaries of information storage anyhow. On another job, the task manager was so sure of his very own capacities to “do his task” that he entirely overlooked the details altogether. The latter job had some dreadful outcomes … consisting of Social Security down payments being returned to the state that sent them, which consequently resulted in that state terminating those payments. Simply put, significant customer effects occurred since individuals were excessively positive in their own capability to adapt to an altering procedure.
So what does this pertain to job administration? Everything. If a project is creating something one-of-a-kind, then it stands to reason that there are variables that are understood and also some that are unidentified. Think of throwing a rock into a lake. You know that the rock hitting the water will certainly create a causal sequence on the water’s surface area. What you do not know is how many surges it will trigger or how far the surges will spread beyond the initial impact. Process management is a method of taking into account all that may happen as a result of the ripples in the water.
Allow’s say that there is a task is to implement brand-new processing software program right into an existing data handling center. On the surface, this looks rather very easy. The processing center already exists as well as the technology is currently in position. So other than information technology and/or details systems setting up the new software as well as some training on just how Project Management Professional to utilize it, this is a rather very easy task. This is equivalent to throwing the rock right into the water. We have a rock, we have water, as well as we understand that the rock hitting the water will certainly produce a causal sequence. Trouble resolved, right? What happens if all of the users of the brand-new software program are not literally located in the exact same processing center? Suppose there are individuals that send out job to the handling center, via carrier, because they are from another location located as well as for that reason unable to use the innovation that is available to others? Perhaps this appears unrealistic to you because we stay in the 21st century, however I can assure you that it’s not.
Right here’s the essence of the trouble. It’s humanity to make presumptions based on limited understanding and/or absence of details … particularly when managing a job. This is why in the Project Administration Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is one of the criteria for task administration, process enhancement is included in its Project Top quality Management section. Refine improvement, whether you call it process administration, procedure style, or procedure design, is important to making sure that your project is carried out according to extent. If the project is designed according to scope, but stops working when taken into manufacturing, the job is a failure and also its extent was never fulfilled. A fundamental assumption of a job is that it will certainly work when totally implemented.
Let’s consider process enhancement from more of a natural standpoint. I use the term organic because we rarely think about procedure monitoring as well as project management together. Like job management, procedure administration has progressed into its very own discipline. At its roots though, procedure management is merely a series of forms and also arrows utilized to highlight a procedure. This is the intrinsic worth of process monitoring. It allows you to show the process prior to it is even in position. Put another way, you can lay out the procedure prior to the task is even near to being completed.
I specified that at its origins, procedure monitoring is just a collection of shapes as well as arrowheads utilized to illustrate a procedure. You can map a procedure (also called a flowchart) making use of just three shapes, an oval, a rectangle, as well as a ruby. Each form stands for a specific part of the process. An oval stands for the beginning or end of a procedure … the initial or last action. A rectangle illustrates a task. If you put a rectangle-shaped box under another box, the second box recognizes a job. A diamond is a call out for a choice. It shows that there is a yes or no question within the procedure that needs to be answered. Remarkably enough, this basic shape usually is just one of one of the most effective in identifying spaces (one or more breaks in a procedure that can cause rework, customer impact, failing, or any other number of issues) within a job and/or process. The arrowheads are used to route the “flow” of the procedure from one point to an additional.
As an example of the win-win of using procedure administration throughout a task, I was just recently on a project where information was being converted from one system to one more. The procedure for this is typically referred to as data mapping. You map the data and the fields in the system where they presently reside as well as map them to where they will certainly stay in the new system. When this was procedure mapped, the ruby form was utilized to ask if the data from our department had been mapped to the new system. The solution was indeed. The following task was to identify exactly how that data would certainly be identified in the brand-new system, to which nobody understood the answer. This was a significant space. If the data had actually been mapped, after that somebody should have been able to inform us what that data would certainly resemble in the new system. We promptly learnt that no one might verify that our location had been consisted of in the original data mapping. What would certainly the impact had been if after the project no one could find the data in the brand-new system? Once more process mapping paid for itself, as it typically does.
One more benefit of procedure mapping is the ability to flowchart the conceptualized procedure. Allow’s state that there are a number of activities that you know need to occur and just how they will certainly be done. What you might not know is that will do all of the actual work. Think of a lending being stemmed. Somebody is going to take the finance application; someone is going to process the car loan application; someone is mosting likely to finance the financing; and also a person is going to close the funding. But that is going to file the papers and will they be checked right into an imaging application? This is an unidentified. By flowcharting the process you are able to take the activities you understand will certainly take place and after that the activities you “think” will certainly happen and create a picture of the process. By using the exact same shapes, however transforming the shade or texture of the “conceptual” ones, you are able to illustrate the recognize activities from the “just how we believe it will certainly be” activities. This enables others to suggest on the process before there is a dispute, such as inaccurate treatments being created or even worse yet, that part of the procedure being totally overlooked.
Perhaps among the greatest benefits of process 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.