Workflow = Process – and Improvement – via the Enabler Systems

My Approach to Performance Improvement
First focus on performance and then enable that. By that I mean look first to your process or processes. Then secondly and thirdly look at the two sets of enablers and the enterprise systems that provision those enablers.

My model is another three legged stool: Process-Human Assets-Environmental Assets. And while some have suggested that it is simply a revamp of Gilbert’s six boxes circa 1970s – it is not. It is a revamp of the Ishikawa Diagram circa 1950s.

The diagram above is an example of the “non-politically correct” fishbone/cause-and-effect versions of the Ishikawa Diagram from the early 1980s when I first learned about it while working at Motorola.

My first exposure to “process” was ala Geary Rummler in 1979 – so a couple of years later when I was at Motorola I got exposed to all sorts of quality tools and concept – one of which was the Ishikawa Diagram (from Professor Ishikawa in Japan in the 1950’s).

The graphic above is certainly not “politically correct” then or now. But is was what it was. It is also known in its variations as the Fishbone Diagram – and the Cause & Effect Diagram.

A rose is a rose is a rosa.

While at Motorola I got to work with Geary on quite a few projects – for my internal Motorola Clients – and for my organization MTEC – Motorola Training & Education Center (run by Bill Wiggenhorn).

I left MTEC after 18 months to join a small consulting firm – and while Geary continued within Motorola and introduced his version of Process – and walla – out came Six Sigma – and I took what I had learned from Geary first-hand and others second-hand (Deming, Juran, Crosby) and evolved my own ISD methodology with the intent that it would expand/be scalable to go beyond Knowledge/Skill enablers – and cover all of the ENABLERS of Process.

My EPPI – Enterprise Process Performance Improvement methods are intended to look at any Enterprise, it’s units, functions, departments and teams with a process-centricity – while allowing my clients to remain functional. Functional but with a process centric view of themselves. Up and Down any Enterprise – or targeted.

And Process centric folks have got to be in tune with/ aligned with their STAKEHOLDERS to be successful. For the Stakeholders spell out the requirements – whether you picked up on them or not. Whether you saw any shifts or not. As they say: Shifts Happen.

For those who may not yet realize it Geary Rummler (not Rummler-Brache) invented the Swimlane Process Map. I always liked it – but liked the Performance Model (also from Rummer-Gilbert – but I used something that must have been a second generation derivative) . I always have thought I captured richer data with the Performance Model – which I organized by AoPs – Areas of Performance. I had seen too many process maps that just went on and on – without any visual break points.

I use the Performance Model to systematically derive the enabling K/Ss when my project was focused on T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management.

I use two sets/categories of ENABLERS- Human Assets and Environment Assets – whereas the Ishikawa Diagram had 4.

My view (or is that iView?): Processes are messy. Many are routine but plenty more are on-demand. Some are straight-line but many more are branched, intertwined, convoluted and hard to tease out diagrammatically. Process need to be looked at in chunks. Mostly at where a significant operation ends and there is a segue to one or many downstream destinations.

But what if you had a good/ well design Process – but it wasn’t performing up to speed?

Sometimes the problem/opportunities are with the Process itself. Sometimes not.

Sometimes it is the enablers that are the weak links.

And the “systems” that provision the enablers or do the enabler acquisition/ development/ enhancement so that they are available in the EPPI models are shown in the next two graphics. First – the Human Assets Management Systems – HAMS:

Secondly – the Environmental Assets Management Systems – EAMS:

The Human Assets required to bring the process to life are found in the graphic above. The enterprise systems that provision and/or enhance those assets, albeit known most likely by other names, are depicted in the graphic below. Again, adapt as necessary.

The Environmental Assets required to bring the process to life are found in the next graphic. These are what the human factor uses to bring that well designed paper process to life. The enterprise systems that provision and/or enhance those assets, again known by other names, are depicted in the graphic below. Again, adapt as necessary.

I am doing a quarterly column with PROVEN Publications that covers all of this. For more information about PROVEN – go here.

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