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Components to Executing a Business Process Improvement (BPI) Programme

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

Components to Executing a Business Process Improvement (BPI) Programme

Prior to the previous Blogs on the selection and implementation or enhancement of an Enterprise Software Project an analysis of the current business practices is conducted.  BPI (Business Process Improvement) provides guidance on how to execute a performance improvement project. The methodology does not provide guidance on other critical components of a project including Programme Management, Engagement/Project Management and Consulting Processes. However, it is recognized that performance improvement projects can not be successful without these aspects.  

A. Programme Management

Programme Management is the external co-ordination of all events surrounding a BPI Programme. It includes planning, monitoring, progress measurement, integration, orchestrating resources, communication, quality control, benefit tracking, and the like. BPI does not support the activities of the Programme Office. However, three elements are defined: Mobilization Plan, Integration Plan and Implementation Plans. Each spans a certain segment of the change continuum, and has a specific role in planning and co-ordinating the Programme in each phase. Additionally, elements of the Leading Change Approach are usually executed through the Programme Office.

B. Project Management

Project management is the internal co-ordination of the project requirements.
Project management includes the following.
  • Planning, sourcing and co-ordinating all resources
  • Training project resources
  • Planning the project
  • Monitoring, controlling, of costs
  • Engagement accounting across the Organisations, borders, global rates and transfer payments
Business Performance Improvement does not include guidance on managing a project.

C. External Consulting Process

The external consulting process within the BPI Programme is viewed as the structured tactical approach that a management consultant will follow within a Organisation environment to successfully facilitate the BPI Programme and deliver technical and functional expertise to the Organisation. It revolves around the value that management consulting can bring to a Organisation in not only executing a project but in being an externally experienced business advisor.
A BPI methodology assumes such a process is in place throughout the BPI Programme. It takes on different forms throughout the Programme according to the needs of the situation and stage of the Organisation’s change cycle.
The experienced consultant coaches the top Organisation on what to anticipate throughout the Programme and how best to create the environment for success within the organization.
The consultant co-manages and drives the activities, deliverables and results of the Programme.
The consulting process becomes more important as the Programme size, scale and complexity increases. Personal and interpersonal skills become the major driver of success in this area. It is important to recognize this need within projects and dedicate the right resources, time and effort.

IV. Areas Worthy of Mention

A. Technology as the Driver of Process Design

Traditionally, process design work has been performed prior to the selection of suitable software packages. This was certainly the case in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when applications to support processes were being custom built, and software houses were developing their products to meet Organisation needs.
As a result, software packages were selected on the basis of detailed process requirements. If packages were not available in the marketplace, a custom solution was built in house.
The BPI scenario reflects two paths: package selection and custom development.

Package Selection:

“To-Be” Process Model drives Software Selection drives Detail Process Descriptions drives Package Software Modifications.

Custom Development:

“To-Be” Process Model drives Detail Process Descriptions drives Custom Software Development
With constant advances in the package marketplace, packaged solutions can now meet the majority of business needs. Often, they not only meet those needs but offer better solutions than would be achieved by commissioning a custom development to the organization’s own specifications.
When “To-Be” process requirements are not unique to the company, available software packages can be selected and drive the high-level, as well as details of the process. In fact, packages can often expand the options previously thought unavailable.
Hence, a third path is emerging, which is not (yet) reflected in this methodology, and constitutes another scenario currently under development. With the Package-Driven Scenario (also referred to as ‘Channelled BPR’), a strategic choice of integrated packaged software is made first, based on the Business Vision and Priority Opportunities of the Organisation.

Package Driven Scenario:

Software Selection drives “To-Be” Process Model drives Detail Process Descriptions drives Package Software Modifications.
This scenario bases process design work on the known capabilities of the package. This will lead to easier and faster implementation of the business solution.

B. Performance Measurement, Management and Benefit Tracking

Throughout the methodology, there is an important thread revolving around performance measurement. The measurement deliverables enable the Organisation to link to budgeting, planning and cost management, and establish an overall performance management agenda. Such an agenda could include strategic cost-management (ABC, activity based costing), economic value management (EVA), balanced performance measurement (Balanced Scorecard) and executive information systems (EIS). Each of these enhances the success of the BPI Programme and can be instituted in parallel to it.
The Holistic Business Model and the “As-Is” deliverables explore the Organisation’s strategic management process, and existing cost and performance measurement mechanisms. Based on the findings, the Organisation may choose to develop a strategic cost-management approach. Such an approach will significantly enhance the Organisation’s ability to identify Focus Areas and Priority Opportunities for the BPI Programme.
Similarly, if the Organisation is so inclined, a balanced performance measurement philosophy and mechanism can be instituted into the corporate culture. The Balanced Scorecard framework can be used as Critical Success Factors, Key Performance Indicators, and Stretch Targets are linked with the Organisation’s overall strategy and Business Vision. The Balanced Scorecard will then structure the “To-Be” Measurement Dashboard and will serve as the high-level performance scorecard for executives, with links to measurement mechanisms at the employee level.
A subset of these measures is developed and used to track the benefits of the improvements against the expectations described in the Business Case and Committed Project Results/Budgets. All measures are tracked through the Measurement System, which can be incorporated into an overall executive information system (EIS).
With the above performance management mechanism in place, benefit tracking and performance measurement will be significantly easier during the Programme and, more importantly, will become an invaluable instrument to engrain lasting change into the fabric of the organization.
The measurement mechanisms are also linked to new individual performance measures as developed in Performance Support and Recognition, and will provide Performance Feedback on progress and compliance during implementation.
On an ongoing basis, this measurement thread will become the means for the company to assess performance against strategic objectives, make key decisions and enhance the business through the Continuous Improvement Programme.

C. Change Management and Leading Change

A BPI Methodology assumes the skill of leading change is indispensable. To help the practitioner, a methodology integrates elements of a Change Approach into the content of deliverables and include specific change deliverables that are essential to orchestrating an impactful change campaign.
A change campaign can be viewed as the premeditated, orchestrated set of events that targeted individuals must experience, to minimize their inevitable resistance to change and become enthusiastic supporters of the Vision. The change campaign is a continuum of activities throughout the BPI Programme designed to lead individuals through the change by managing the impacts and instilling the behaviors that will drive success.
The events and activities that must be orchestrated are co-ordinated through the Programme Office and reflected in a Mobilization Plan. They will revolve around deliverables created during the BPI Programme: Case for Change and Readiness for Change, Sponsorship Role Map, Shared Values and Guiding Principles, Communication Plan. The Communication Plan segments the target audience, outlines the messages and events, identifies the timing, and specifies the messengers and the medium. As the Programme evolves, additional deliverables are used as change tools and provide input into the Communication Plan: “As-Is” state, “To-Be” environment, Business Case, Migration Plan and others.
The impact that any communication can have comes from the level and commitment of sponsorship from senior management. The sponsors are the individuals that must drive and lead the change from the onset Without their dedication and time, the change campaign can not be successful.

D. Organisation Decision Points and Business Case

Throughout a BPI Programme, the Organisation will weigh whether or not to proceed with identified options based on costs and benefits to the company. These decision points occur progressively along the stages of the Organisation’s change cycle.
Envision: The Case for Change will bring the chief executive to acknowledge that the organization needs to change to realize potentially significant, but as yet unquantified benefits. Without a compelling justification and clarity of “What’s in it for me”, a Business Vision is not worth pursuing; and not understanding “Where I want to go, where I want to be”, the Organisation will always decide against initiating an ambitious BPI Programme.
Focus: Once the go-no-go decision to proceed with a Programme is made, resources will be spent to understand the impact that the change will have on the business. Well-formulated Priority Opportunities will provide an estimate about the rough costs and will target benefits associated with the change effort. This estimate is intentionally positioned as being at a 50% level of confidence to minimize the length of time spent on analysis. Such a rough estimate ensures that the targeted results are abundant enough to enable the decision to invest in designing the high-level “To-Be” environment. At this point, the organization has a clear strategy of where it is headed and is sold on finding a path to get there.
High Level Design: The Organisation is able to clearly judge whether the “To-Be” environment and its characteristics will fulfill the Business Vision. The Business Case proves to top management and the organization that the investment, disruption and discomfort that the change will cause is warranted by the quantitative and qualitative payoff of the “To-Be” state. The Migration Plan represents the sequence, dependencies, timing, costs and results of the discrete projects that make up the plan and business case. The Organisation can determine if, “I agree with the discrete projects and their sequence; they meet my priorities; there are any I want to stop now.”
The financial information in the Business Case is presented with a 70% level of confidence signifying that greater precision is not possible, until exact details are designed. Consequently, management makes a decision “in-principle” to proceed with the selected projects on the Migration Plan. Permission is given, project by project, to design the details of the change and to calculate the conclusive cost/benefit estimates capital for the requests.
Design Details: Committed Project Results/Budgets affords the Organisation a final go-no-go decision to build and implement the discrete components of the Migration Plan. The Organisation has certainty in cost and confidence in the benefits relying on estimates that will be within +/-10%. Final opportunity exists to assess if “I am still eager to fund the projects, there are any I wish to stop now, reprioritize, accelerate”. Funds are allocated and incorporated into financial statements, and building and implementation begins.

E. Analysis Logic and Levels of Detail

The philosophy behind levels of detail is “just-enough-just-in-time”. Identify the goal and need for the analysis, and perform only the amount that will achieve that need.
The deliverables focused on the “As-Is” of the Organization do not necessarily reflect the timing of the detail that is needed. (e.g. Internal Organizational Overview, Holistic Business Model, Business Position, “As-Is” Assessments) They define what needs to occur to complete the deliverable, but the detail may occur throughout a phase or phases.
This may mean that the first analysis begins in Envision, additional detail occurs in Focus and Design High Level, and the truly required detailed analysis occurs in the Design Detail, only in specific areas of the process in question.
The level of analysis is always scrutinized to prevent the rut of “analysis-paralysis”. However, understanding the “As-Is” is still an important part of a BPI Programme for several reasons.
  • It allows identification and quantification of benefits and improvements.
  • It can be used to establish a starting point for the “To-Be” to set a common context for Organisation participants.
  • It ensures that value-added aspects of existing processes, data and functionality are not lost during Design Details.
  • Unless a strong sponsor can counter people’s passion for the “As-Is” by categorically dismissing it, an “As-Is” analysis is a powerful tool to drive change.

F. Resource Usage on Projects

One of the key ingredients in executing a BPI Programme is the planning, selection and management of consultant and Organisation resources. There are four main resources to plan in a BPI Programme: Program Manager, Core Team, Specialists and Organisation Resources.
The engagement team is responsible for managing the relationship and expectations of senior management and/or the top Organisation(s). This position is critical to the success of the BPI Programme and must be an ongoing activity throughout.
The core team will vary based upon the needs of the particular BPI Programme. Staffing of the project should take into consideration project characteristics such as the size of the project; the lever of change dominating the Programme; the industry; and other particular characteristics e.g. extreme employee dissatisfaction, global operations, accelerated turnaround, etc. Four types of resources should be identified for a BPI Programme.
  • A project manager that understands the business, drives the momentum and has day-to-day management responsibilities
  • A process or operations team member to drive the process activities
  • A people or social systems team member to support the human resource and change management requirements
  • A technology specialist team member to identify opportunities and drive development
The number and skills of the core team will be determined by the size, type and time parameters of the project. An appropriately staffed project will determine whether deliverables are completed quickly and efficiently. When resources are not adequate or available upon kick-off of the project, the project is at risk of time overruns or low-quality activity.
Appropriate resources should be planned and in place when the project begins. In fact, preparing the Core Team for the project may require that the team is assembled before the project begins to conduct “on-boarding”. Orientation, agreement on approach, completion of a Mobilization Plan, delineation of roles and responsibilities may need to be established preceding any Organisation contact. This is especially true on globally staffed projects when core team members come from different organisations, backgrounds and methodology contexts.
There may be a need to go out of the Core Team to complete particular activities or deliverables. Specialist resources should be planned from the start to reserve time and set expectations. These resources are identified throughout the deliverables in the methodology, where particular skills can contribute to a more successful deliverable.
For example, throughout an Envision Phase, a change management specialist trained in particular techniques is required to complete deliverables including, the Readiness for Change Assessments, Sponsorship Role Maps, and Communications Plan. The change management specialist can help to facilitate workshops, build plans, and do other activities. This is also the case with other functional or process specialists e.g. technologists specialised in electronic data interface, human resource specialists knowledgeable in compensation plans or team-based organizations.
As the project focuses on particular Organisation issues and needs, it may be necessary to modify the core team members. Depending on what issues become the central efforts of the performance improvement Programme, different skills may be required. It is important to balance continuity with sourcing the most qualified resources.
Identifying Organisation resources is as critical as obtaining the appropriate consulting team. Often roles on the BPI teams are full-time and require that Organisation resources are freed up from their daily responsibilities. This is often resisted by the Organisation, and resources offered are not the “brightest and best”. The Organisation must understand that change requires leaders and experts, and these resources must be dedicated. BPI Programmes require dynamic, eager, inspiring, ambitious people, as well as doubters or non-doubters of change for senior management and the sponsor(s) alike. The time commitments and responsibilities of Organisation resources are established, and expectations are set from the onset.
Organisation resources can have various responsibilities throughout the project, depending on the approach. Organisations can lead teams, participate on teams, provide expertise on particular deliverables, provide leadership or coaching, etc. It is an important buy-in technique to involve the Organisation as much as possible, so they will take ownership of the activities and results.


The Deliverables are driven by the phases of a Business Performance Improvement Programme: Awaken, Envision, Focus, Design High Level, Design Details, Build, Implement and Enhance. Each of these phases is composed of a set of “deliverables” that is required to complete that phase. The deliverables aligned to each phase are not necessarily sequential and may occur at varying levels of detail throughout many phases. The deliverables Book is structured with an Intro followed by a series of sections, one on each of the eight phases. The major components are:
  • Introduction
  • Overall Storyline
  • Overall Project Plan
  • Phases
  • phase-level storyline
  • project plan
  • dependencies
  • deliverables
  • Lexicon
The introduction will orient the reader about the context and concepts on which the methodology is based. It also provides definitions, insights and directions to the methodology. The introduction should be read by every team memeber, before the methodology itself is examined or used.
Following the introduction is an overall storyline describing the eight phases of the methodology. This storyline provides a description of what occurs in each phase at a high level.
A sample project plan is included at the overall phase level. The project plan is built from the summary activities defined within each deliverable.
With each of the following sections of the phases there are: a phase-level storyline; a project plan, dependencies and deliverables.
The phase-level storyline decomposes the overall phase storyline into a deliverable-by-deliverable narrative that serves as an introduction to each phase. It provides a continuum across deliverables which provides insight to the entire phase.
The phase project plan will identically reflect what is in the overall but will only portray those activities within the particular phase.
Dependencies portray the relationships between deliverables. The critical path is depicted showing what deliverables are dependent on the completion of other deliverables, what deliverables can occur concurrently and how deliverables relate to each other. These dependencies guide the practitioner through the deliverables, so that they can plan and execute the activities in a logical and practical manner.
Within each phase are the deliverables that compose that phase. The deliverable section describes what needs to be accomplished to execute the deliverable. It is composed of five headings.
  • Description — defines what the deliverable is
  • Organisation Value — describes the value that the deliverable provides toward the success of the Programme. This, in conjunction with the description, will sell the concept to the Organisation and can be used in proposals, conversations, etc.
  • Approach — provides a description of what needs to be accomplished to complete the deliverable. This is followed by actual steps, detailing the work needed to execute the deliverable. When techniques (described later) are needed to complete the deliverable they are identified in the particular approach work step by their underlined name. The approach should be used to build the deliverable.
  • Guidelines — cover three themes, including Problems/Solutions, Tactics/Helpful Hints and Resources/Timing. These statements help to guide the practitioner through the development of the deliverable by providing insight into typical problems and how to resolve them; tactics on how to complete particular aspects of the deliverable; and specialty resources and timing considerations. Guidelines are tactical insights for successfully completing the deliverable.
  • References — link the deliverable to other KPMG methodologies that provide additional detail, description or different approaches to completing the deliverable. This can be used to link other methodologies being deployed in a particular project with the deliverables required by a BPI project. The references can also be used to provide further explanation or detail on particular deliverables in which other methodologies are focussed.
  • The final component of the deliverables book is a dictionary that defines key BPI terms. This lexicon is provided to eliminate any confusion about misleading words and to provide definitions for complex terms


The technique supports the deliverables by providing detail on how to complete particular activities within a deliverable or several deliverables.
Techniques are alphabetically organized. A technique may apply to several deliverables or may be unique to one particular deliverable. There are two forms of techniques: a simple one-page overview and a detailed, complete technique. The former is used to cover either techniques that are simple and only require a brief description, or those where the detail is found in other methodologies. A detailed technique is composed of six main headings:

  • Description a summary defining what the technique is
  • When to Use an explanation of when a technique may be used and criteria for deciding on whether to use the technique.
  • Approach a description of what needs to be accomplished to complete the technique. This is followed by actual steps, detailing the work needed to execute the technique.
  • Guidelines— tactical statements to guide the practitioner through the development of the deliverable divided into the three themes Problems/Solutions, Tactics/Helpful Hints and Resources/Timing
  • Examples when examples exist, they are included to give the practitioner an idea of what a completed technique looks like. These examples are from actual KPMG projects.
  • Templates when templates are appropriate they are provided so that the practitioner can use them to build his/her own deliverable. These typically correspond with the previous examples.

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