Keeping Business Processes Simple
Einstein once said that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. This is true in every aspect of life including the way business processes or methods are implemented within the workplace. There are various ways to ensure that business processes meet the needs of the organization and the company in general. One great way is to make sure that all process improvements somehow make doing business simpler.
The key to process improvement is that simpler is better and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Just as the wheel continues to turn and spin, so must business methods be continually reviewed and improved. Unfortunately, continuous process improvement sometimes leads to these methods becoming more complicated over time. Therefore, the implementer should always strive to make business methods simpler with each improvement iteration. In my experience, it is far easier to make processes more complicated than it is to keep them simple hence keeping things simple is more difficult than one might think. To help keep processes from becoming too complicated over time, process implementers should ensure that along with metrics to measure the effectiveness of the process, there should also be metrics in place to measure the efficiency of the process itself.
We have a saying around my house that applies not only to life, but even more so to any business process: “That which gets measured gets done.” While I repeat this to myself as I create my daily “to do” lists, this maxim is also meaningful in the life of business. In my opinion, all business processes should be measurable. If they are measured, they will get done. Just as many software applications have a built-in tracking system to measure their efficacy, business processes should have built-in process metrics to determine the effectiveness of what the business does.
At the same time, business processes can’t be too rigid. Flexible processes, ones that can be adapted and used in a variety of situations, are those that will endure. This is especially true for efficient and simple processes. It would be futile to create a process that is difficult to change and challenging to use. In order to attain process excellence, the process implementers need to remember Einstein’s quote and seek the simplest process possible within reason. With a little business process management practice, we can achieve outstanding business returns through the implementation of simple, yet measurable and effective processes.