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Avoiding Process Excellence – tip #1

Blog: Business Process Xcellence

Avoid aligning performance measures to people, it may lead to accountability.
In the last of the Dirty Harry movies starring Clint Eastwood (The Dead Pool, 1988), Harry said “opinions are like _______, everybody’s got one”.  Harry wasn’t very politically correct, so think below the waist in filling in the blank…

The same might be said today in the technology space today – about dashboards.  Some like to call them cockpits or scorecards.  It doesn’t really matter for purposes of this discussion.  I’m referring to any graphical method of presenting performance measures. ERP providers have them; BI providers are all about dashboards, at least those that weren’t acquired by an ERP company; CRM providers have them….the list goes on, and on, and on…

So there are lots of dashboard choices.  Generally, these dashboards are taking the place of spreadsheets from ten years ago, or green bar paper from twenty years ago.  By that I mean, the data they are presenting isn’t necessarily current or trusted; and it likely is not formally aligned to the role/person that is accountable for that performance measure.

Performance measures inform us on our progress towards goals; goals align to our organizational strategies.  Some people refer to this (strategy->goal->measure) as a strategy model.  You can have the best strategy model in the world, but if its measures are not aligned to the roles or individuals that goals are met, then either it all falls apart or progress is very slow.

Isn’t alignment of performance measures to roles the first thing you should do, once you decide a measurement is worth tracking?  And while we’re at it, the measurement likely aligns to a process that we perform, so aligning it to a process or an element of a process architecture sounds like a smart move too.

Doesn’t this alignment between measurements, people, and process make the case for an integrated approach?   An approach that, once you identify a measurement that is not tracking towards your goals, you can quickly identify the process that is not working, the people aligned to that process, and the technology that supports that process – so that they can improve it?

Of course not!  Remember, this is about how to “avoid process excellence”, so don’t do anything I just described.  Avoid using dashboards that align to people, process, and technology.  It will keep you way too busy with improvement ideas.

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