Process Re-engineering - Our Ultimate Team

A great team is a key asset to any business. When it comes to process re-engineering, we value it so much, we list it as one of our key elements of business process reengineeringIn this update, I will talk through what I see as the key “players” in any ultimate team for process re-engineering, from my years of running such projects. It is important to note, that not every ultimate team needs each role at every stage. Nor that one individual takes up that role for the duration of the project. As with any team, and any player within it, the best team members adapt their position and role, given the requirements at the time.

Remember, this is not a definitive list. Every project you undertake will require more, or less or each element (barring the non-negotiable team members). As an added bonus, we will take a look at other support structures a business can put in place. Giving your business process re-engieering project the greatest chance of success.

Process Re-Engineering; An Overview Of The Players

Before we dive into each of the required elements of a great team in great detail. I will give an overview of each position to be discussed:

  • Sponsor
  • Project Leader
  • Scribe
  • Process Expert
  • Team Member – External
  • Team Member – Internal
  • Specialist Idea Generators (HR, IT, Finance)

The Sponsor

Process Re-Engineering works best by adapting a simple principles from Taichi Ohno’s Workplace ManagementOr as many people will know it, the Toyota manufacturing principles. Ohno stated that real  process redesign innovation happens within the Gemba. Therefore, it makes sense that any process re-engineering comes from those working in it constantly. Of course, the highest level CAPEX signoff must happen at senior management level. A great process re-engineering project will include a sponsor who has the influence and authority within the business to deploy the outcomes. As a process re-engineering consultant, I have spent many kick-off and feedback meetings with both the sponsor and the project team leader. Putting into place sign-off on the back of redesign projects.

Project Leader

A project leader is imperative in delivering any major process change within the business. It is the project leaders responsibility to ensure that deadlines are hit. Deliverables are to a satisfactory quality and the team are aware of the next steps and their roles within the project. People will naturally assume that the project leader role would fall to an external consultant upon their appointment to engage in such a project. My personal preference is to coach and mentor an internal party on the process of leading such a project. The process re-engineering consultant is there to deliver structure, and guidance. As well as packaging the “art of the possible.” A great project leader takes this on-board, but also understands the business and interpersonal complexities of the team.

The Scribe

The scribe is, as always, one of the most overlooked positions in any project. Interestingly, speaking from personal experience. I find it one of the most valuable. Don’t simply write the scribe role off (see what I did there!) as just an admin role. Poorly documented and updated projects, where the detail of each session gets missed, can be fatal to a project. Whilst the scribe role cannot be the only benefit a team member brings to the table. Projects such as this require manpower and that comes at a cost. Not having a solid scribe is the difference between a good, and great project delivery.

Process Expert

When I say process expert, I really mean, a process expert. This needs to be someone who knows the system, the screens, the manufacture, whatever, inside and out. Whilst generally a project has a few team members who work with the process daily. The process expert will know the intricacies of the process thoroughly. Having a process expert on the team, as it should go without saying, is non-negotiable.

Team Member – External

On the opposite end of the process expert, we have the external team member. This member of the project should have an understanding of the business. However, they should have no intimate knowledge of the process. After all, there needs to be some break away from the group think, especially through ideas generation. The single most important question an external team member can ask, is Why? Why is something this way, why is it that way. By having a fresh set of eyes on the process, with enough business context, really delivers a great edge to the project. This really comes through in the output.

Team Member – Internal

Process re-design projects are labour intensive. Unfortunately, there is no getting away from this fact. Whilst you may have your process expert on board. Inviting more team members from the Gemba will deliver a better result. We know that diversity and inclusion leads to better business decisions. This holds constant in process re-engineering projects too. Compliment your teams capabilities with great bench strength and diversity.

Specialist Idea Generators (IT, HR, etc.)

The ideas generation phase of any project is one of the most exciting. We talk about the “art of the possible” when discussing process re-engineering and it is this phase that brings it to life. Whilst the team will know ways to overcome non-value-added process steps, there can be specialist nuances that need to be considered. Always take the time to bring certain subject matter experts into the fold and share. Remember, process re-engineering should never be done in isolation. Although, unfortunately in cases I have seen it occur and the outcomes are usually diminished. Open the process out to other members of your business, you may find these are the source of great inspiration.

June 25, 2020

by James