I was recently asked to assist a customer of ours who had been experiencing difficulties delivering a particular service to their customer. Upon investigation, I was able to determine that the issue was not related to capability, rather, at the root of the breakdown was an ineffective and unsupported process. Our customer, wanting to resolve the problem as quickly as possible, asked me, “What do we need to do to get back on track?” Since the service request process in question had not been reviewed in some time, our first step was to conduct a thorough process review.
In this article I’ll present an overview of 8 steps most organizations can follow to modify an existing process or introduce a new one. In future articles, we’ll cover each step in greater detail so that you will be able follow this method within your own organization. Upon first glance, these steps may appear obvious, however, I commonly see organizations overlook many of these critical steps.
When implementing a process change, I can’t over-emphasize the need for executive sponsorship. One of the primary reasons for the breakdown of any process is its lack of support among managers and staff.
Here are the 8 steps I outlined for our customer in their effort to “get back on track”:
1. Identify the goals and objectives of the process change. What is it that we want to accomplish? (e.g., ensure that the services offered are clearly identified; define and communicate a realistic SLA for the delivery of services, etc.)
2. Define and document a process that supports our goals.
3. Obtain consensus from managers that this is the best (not perfect) process for the organization. Can we expect the process to be wholly supported by the staff?
4. Review the technology available to the support provider and define the configurations needed for the existing and/or new tools.
5. Communicate details of the process change to all staff members. Explain what is changing and why.
6. Assert guidelines and rules of accountability to ensure the consistent support and enforcement of the process.
7. Measure performance based upon the objectives defined in Step 1.
8. Schedule regular evaluations to ensure that the expected results are being achieved. If not, make the necessary adjustments to shore up the process.
My point here is that process changes have more to do with the cultural changes and less to do with the applications being used.