#1 – Include the people

Optimizing a process is not only a matter of large production plants. Optimizing a process sometimes just means that a team sees that the process doesn’t flow as it used to. The reasons can be external, like change in supplies, new customer demands, new competitor products, etc. On the other hand, internal structures and environments might change, so we must continuously adapt our processes according to our business situation. By optimizing processes, I do not mean merely optimizing sizable complex production processes but also small team processes that flow throughout one or a couple of teams that have to collaborate daily. That is I will focus on people power inside process optimization.

Nowadays, we have numerous methods and techniques on how to optimize processes. Some are rather numeric, scientific. Those mathematically oriented approaches seek strict measurements and tend towards maximum performance and maximum output.

Processes are about people executing them, but we often neglect the human aspect.

So in our agile method of process optimization, called Process Hack, the success of a good functioning process not only lies in numbers and trying continually to optimize time or different other measurable outputs. It is also about making people in the respected process better performers, or shall we say happier and more understanding. 

What do we mean by that?

If viewing processes in an organization from an agile perspective, it becomes quickly evident that a process is mainly about people since it is “a set of procedures and actions, agreed and executed by employees.”

In practice, when working with numerous clients through Process Hack, we see that some people find their own solutions and ways of working within a process. People seek simple solutions on having their daily routine in this process impeller making it more straightforward. If the organizational process charts show specific actions in a team or prescribe a type of action for the employee, this is one perspective. But in reality, this person or group always flows somehow differently from how the organizational process chart shows.

Why is that?

Because people seek simple solutions and find their way on how to do work faster and more efficiently.

But where’s the catch? Their crafted solutions might not be beneficial for other teams in the process; even more, those actions can obstruct other team members from different sectors not to work or function properly.

Since a process is about people and it is a mutual agreement on how to do specific action steps to follow a common goal, in the agile perspective, we should also change it when needed in collaboration with its key stakeholders.

People Power in Process Optimization

To start a successful optimization process, make sure you: 

  • Include all relevant stakeholders – including people from different sectors that appear in a process in question.
  • Pick hands-on collaborators and not only sector leaders. You want to have people involved who are hands-on with documents, process details. Leaders often do not have an in-depth picture of what is actually being done.
  • Communicate candidly. Open and candid discussion without fear of being discredited or punished for actions will reveal the real challenges and solutions when optimizing a process.

Buy-in relevance

If you include relevant and various stakeholders as described above, you are in a good way to secure buy-in when moving towards the implementation of an optimized process. People tend to resist change. Inclusion in a very early stage makes the stakeholders:

  • feel in control over change,
  • in a position, where they can contribute challenges and co-create solutions,
  • In that way, better and more sustainable results can be granted.
Process optimization

Stay tuned as we will share the next steps on how to perform this process in an agile way, bringing people together, making them engaged and motivated. Until then, you can check out a blog post from Daniela Bervar Kotolenko, the founder and driver of Process Hack: Why is Process Hack the next big thing.