The history of things
A true process must be deliberately designed and planned before being rushed into production.
Half a century ago, before the mass emergence of servers, mainframes, personal computers and the like, people went about their daily work following manual processes for various tasks and functions.
Many of these processes were developed years ago, sometimes as far back as a few centuries. Over this time, very little changed in how people performed a task or function to achieve the intended goal or output requirement.
Have a look back in time, even as far back as the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians, to find similar processes for how things needed to be done to achieve results.
How did the Romans build those cities, waterways and almost perfectly laid roads? And then there's their extremely well-engineered military conquests!
The Egyptians built massive pyramids and tombs back in an age when tools and machinery, like builders have today, did not exist; yet, their works of perfection still stand today, hundreds of centuries later. Even back in the days of the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians, there had to be hundreds of well thought out and written manual processes
Processes that had been refined over decades and hundreds of years to get down to that perfect procedure, which was then repeated and mirrored over to other tasks and functions to perfect, all required results and actions.
Their achievements speak for themselves. Everyone could learn a few lessons from them - what could they have achieved if they had today's technology, tools and resources?
By the book
What people today don't realise is that the manual - written processes that were followed over centuries - was extremely well-refined and productive in comparison to many of the processes currently in use. This is because, for the most part, companies seem to rush into just creating processes; they try and create a new process for everything. If something goes wrong then it is a case of 'we need another process', but it could be that the current process just needs to be tweaked, or some basic additions made to it.
In the modern era, people hope to achieve in a single day what some processes took centuries to achieve in refinement.
Companies seem to rush into just creating processes.
A true process needs to be carefully thought out and put through its paces, before going into the mainstream. There is nothing wrong with involving others, testing, and re-workshopping it to get it as close to right as possible before putting it into full organisational production.
In the creation of a process, bring in people directly connected to the process, bring in people not connected to the process but who have something to gain or lose from this particular process, and then don't forget to think like a customer. This generates creative thinking, with diversification and collaboration, and the much-needed buy-in for the soon-to-be rubberstamped process.
After the process has been workshopped and put down on paper, it then needs to be tested in a controlled environment.
Testing 1, 2, 3
First, test the process in a limited setting, with little impact to daily operations or impact to the company's customers, internal staff and/or suppliers. Run the tests over a period of a few days, and if there's the luxury of time, then take two to three weeks.
While the process is being tested, it is vital that this is constantly monitored. This should factor in constant tweaks, updates and minor modifications where there are bottlenecks, issues and further problems created by the process.
After testing, pull everyone back into a closed-off workshop. Here, the process in its updated form is presented, with all the pros and cons of what was found in the testing period. Final updates and changes are then made and the process needs to be rubber-stamped by all involved.
Now, the process goes live and into full production.
Finally, it is extremely important to note that even though a process is now live and in full production, it cannot just be left alone - it still needs to be monitored, updated and tweaked as the company, customer and/or supplier needs impacting the said process change.
Be mindful that change is a constant around processes.
My next Industry Insight will focus on: The start to end of a process.
Karl Reed, chief marketing and solutions officer at Elingo, has 30+ yearsâ experience in the ICT space. He has a strong technical background and knowledge, specialising in new business development, complex solution architecting, design, pricing, return on investments, budgeting, deployment and marketing, with hundreds of courses and certifications across all these areas. His focus ranges from basic to highly complex cloud and premises-based multimedia contact centres, process automation/workflow solutions, and enterprise unified communication solutions. This includes skills-based ACD multimedia channels/interactions, process automation/workflow, multimedia recording, voice/data analytics, workforce management, transactional and smart IVRs, outbound campaigns (dialler), unified communications, social media, customer satisfaction surveys, quality management, VOIP, virtualisation, micro-services, multi-sites and monitoring.