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Comment on Applying Process Changes: Process Measures Equal Better Improvements by Christopher Schuckmeister

Blog: BPTrends - Harmon on BPM

Thanks Holly
I think a lot of business process mapping projects use a industry standard structure (i.e. APQC which use a 5 level framework) so they can apply industry benchmarks to processes at a later stage. These projects normally start at the 4th level which identifies the process groups, and from there they develop the level 5th activities underpinning the 4th level process groups to identify business roles (and then sometimes the 6th level is developed to outline tasks and work instructions to link business instructions to system instructions for knowledge training). I know I have been involved in 2 such projects with large firms using this approach, and it makes sense to a point. The problem is by assuming these industry frameworks and grouping processes together we invariably have to use process links to other process groups and the mapping becomes ‘bigger than a sheet’ and we loose sight of the process we want to focus on. In an effort to keep our audience interested we also build ‘end to end’ process maps outside the corporate framework which provide a selection of activities (from the 5th level process models) to show all the activities and business rules (gateways) used to produce the process output.
The question then appears on which set of process maps do you apply measures and metrics? Most of the indicators are better suited to Level 5 activity models as you have more room to identify measures and metrics with business roles. Whereas, the KPI is probably better suited to the ‘end-to-end’ model as its is linked to a corporate measurement framework (which in turn is linked to corporate strategy).
So my point (and I am sorry if I rambled on a bit!) is that process measurement really requires two sets of views of the process in order to work, and this takes time and advanced software. If you are only using a BPMN Visio stencil and not a more process modelling framework tool such as ProMapp or System Architect then reusing activities and maintaining version control between your corporate process framework model and your set of ‘end-to-end’ models is very difficult.
Finally, KPI are performance measures and not necessarily process measures. Linking a KPI may not relate well to a process group. For instance, take a ‘Average Handling Time of a call’ in a Call Centre. This a typical KPI measure used to set standard and monitor by shift, by team, by agent, by call type. Now if we use the APQC process framework we know its in 2.2 Manage Customer Contact …. this is fine so far but what about complex customer calls taken by functional teams that have been forwarded on by the Call Centre. The Average Handling Time measure for the Call Centre looks fine (because it can be could be managed) but you may also want to apply the measure to include all calls so you probably have to dig into almost all process centric areas to identify total customer calls and their average handling time if you want to improve the process and measure a true customer satisfaction level.
Anyway, thanks for the article as it did stir the thoughts up and I look forward to future work from you.

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