Designing and Deploying Human Centric Processes

A lot of effort has been carried out in the last years to re engineer processes in order to automate all or parts of them. A great number of companies have changed their processes as a result of the introduction of new software systems, aimed to streamline the management of the back and front office. Companies have even taken care of processes crossing the company boundaries in order to optimize communications with clients, providers and partners. A characteristic of this interest is that is has been driven by technology.

In the last years we have seen the introduction of ERP and CRM systems, Content and Document Management systems, Workflow Automation Applications, etc... that have (or hopefully will) help companies achieve a more efficient use of their resources. It seemed that CIOs believed that an impressive IT portfolio would directly result in better processes.

However less interest has been directed at the human side of process optimization. A lot of money is spent on paying a team from a world class consultancy firm, best of breed software products licenses, etc... and it is usual that the importance of deploying the new processes effectively is underestimated. Designing and documenting enhanced processes does not create value for the company. It is only when these new processes are carried out in the real world that value is created.

If we use the popular metaphor that compares a business with an orchestra, you can have the best musicians (employees) playing the best instruments (software systems) with the music scores (processes) in order. Value appears when they start playing together in a coordinated manner.

The objective of most Business Process Reengineering (BPR) projects is to increase the quality of products and services produced, to lower costs, to reduce development time, to increase client satisfaction, etc... At the bottom line what you need to achieve is that people work in a new and more efficient way.

The success of a BPR effort, specially when process are carried out by people, is therefore highly dependent on people's understanding of the following concepts:

"Who does what, how, when and where"

Who. The person in charge of each task in the process must be clear. It must be clear who is accountable for each activity.

What. The characteristics that the output of the activity must conform to. The value it adds to the process object.

How. The way in which the task must be performed must be clearly known and made explicit (documented) with the necessary level of detail. It is important that this set of descriptions and instructions are easy to update, so best practices and lessons learned can be incorporated and widely employed.

When. Which activities precede and follow the task.

Where the activity is carried out.

The importance of efficiently deploying a process is also dependant on the number of persons that will be following the procedure. The greater the number is, the more value that an efficient deployment provides. Think of the claim processing department of an insurance company, people analyzing mortgage requests in a commercial bank or a big call center. These units normally have a great number of people executing the same process.

The objective is that people executing the process perform it as close as possible to the new version of the process, in the shortest possible period of time. These two variables are extremely important to generate value and to recover the resources invested in reengineering the process.

Some of the practices that can contribute to this objective include making the procedures easily available in a format that facilitates its look up, training, controlling, incentivating process compliance, etc... But applying this techniques alone is not a synonym for success.

The real challenge is to get participant buy in. These is were social and cultural factors must be taken in to account, and change management, knowledge management, management of expectations, etc... come into play.

Experience has shown, especially with knowledge workers, that involving process participants in decisions that affect them, ensuring that they are well informed and making them feel that their opinion is being taken into account, is more effective than forcing them to follow the new processes. Although there are some cases were strict discipline must be used to enforce compliance with the process, it is usually better to reward good attitudes than to punish non compliance.

Once the process is being carried out following the new process it is also very important to enable feedback to the system. Process participants' opinions are extremely important to enhance the process and it is likely that they have some good ideas to improve it. For example, performing a specific task in a way that can be institutionalized as a best practice, incorporated to the procedure and deployed to every participant in the process.

Lucas Rodríguez Cervera is founder of Nevant} ? Methodology & Process a company specialized in human-centric knowledge intensive business process technologies. They pioneered this concept with metoCube. Nevant Methodology & process

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at


4 Steps to Building an Unstoppable Offshore Dream Team in 24 Hours
The old model of hiring a herd of nine-to-fivers is quickly becoming obsolete; instead, specialist contractors are assembling across continents and time zones to form highly-effective, digitally-connected ninja teams that move needles in a business ...


Amazon Reportedly Has A Secret Team Building A Home Robot
You may have seen Amazon robots whizzing around the company's enormous warehouses but now there's reason to believe similar machines could soon be entering people's homes. According to a report from Bloomberg on Monday that cites several inside sources ...
Amazon Has a Top-Secret Plan to Build Home RobotsBloomberg

all 136 news articles »

3 Steps to Building a DevOps Team Focused on Customers
... need to get along for the greater good of the company, the customers and the quality of the software they are pushing out the door. Neither “side” will ever likely make that observation, and, even if one side did make it, the other would almost ...

Vikings Wire

This is a big time for team building in Minnesota
Vikings Wire
This is a cheerful time in the NFL. The draft is just a day away. OTAs kicked off last week and teams are in the honeymoon period. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is thrilled. Dalvin Cook is healthy. And Kyle Rudolph is happy to be back with his ...

and more »

Human Capital

How can employers build a positive team culture?
Human Capital
Team building events provide a time when the focus is purely on these outcomes with no workplace distractions. The benefits of team building events really depend on what the organisation wants to focus on. Some of the main impacts are team work ...

Fond du Lac Reporter

Add horses to your teambuilding and leadership training in Oakfield
Fond du Lac Reporter
“I bring the powerful lessons horses have for leadership, with remarkable stories of the results of our work on their teams and organizations.” Clients agree. Jill Kelly, an executive coach herself, and a client of Warner's, stated “Cindy's innate ...

The Daily News of Newburyport

Mason: Night at the rink latest example of Red Sox building chemistry
The Daily News of Newburyport
I was telling everyone they played better, but the goalie from the other team was on fire. Everyone has those days. Just like (Oakland starter Sean) Manaea had that day, (Frederik Andersen) had that day.” Manaea, of course, no-hit the Red Sox on ...

and more »

Top Ways To Help Your Team To Bond
Los Cerritos News
Whether you are a member of a sports club or trying to help your workplace team to bond, team building is a crucial step if you want to develop an engaged, motivated and successful team. In order for your team to have a winning season, it is up to you ...

Boston Herald

Matthew Slater puts emphasis on team-building at Patriots workout
Boston Herald
“Moses Cabrera has a great vision for what we're doing here as a team,” said Slater. “He has a plan he thinks about year round. He's always tweaking that plan. We've seen some tweaking that's already happened. I think he's going to continue to make ...

and more »

Bill Belichick 4/13: 'Exciting team building time'
Bill Belichick 4/13: 'Exciting team building time'. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his pre-draft press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, April 13, 2018. Watch. Transcript to follow. Watch · Download audio. View ...

Google News

The Magic and Mystery of Teams

As the world of manufacturing has become increasingly competitive, managers... Read More

Getting Team Discussions Moving in The Right Direction

Group discussions are where much of the creative work of... Read More

Why People Dont Listen... and Some Fun Things You Can Do About It

It's frustrating when your co-workers, audience members, teenager or even... Read More

The Team Process

We live in very progressive times, one only has to... Read More

Building Successful Work Relationships--Playing In The Same Sandbox

Remember playing in your childhood sandbox? If you enjoyed being... Read More

Team Development and Learning

A tight knit team is a group of competent individuals... Read More

Yes, But What Are You Really Saying?

More and more I hear people misunderstanding what someone else... Read More

Building a Successful Team

Once you've set a goal for yourself as a leader... Read More

Building High Performing Teams: Putting the I Back in Teamwork

Ever watched a really brilliant idea meet with resistance and... Read More

Employee and Coworkers Gifts

Giving gifts to your co-workers or your employees can be... Read More

Leading the Witness: How Asking Questions as a Trainer Can Limit Learning and Reduce Trust

"Asking questions can be a means of establishing authority, fulfilling... Read More

Team Work - A Challenge of Character

Over the years there has been much ado about team... Read More

Whats the Secret Ingredient That Turns Groups into Teams?

What's the Secret Ingredient That Turns Groups into Teams? Working... Read More

Characteristics of High Performance Teams

Abstract: Based on significant research, Entelechy has defined characteristics of... Read More

How to Align Your Team through Change

Eight Principles for Purposeful AlignmentEffective teamwork requires individual members of... Read More

Company Picnic Ideas and Planning Tips

The company picnic is a beloved tradition at many firms.It's... Read More

Collaboration Software - Building an Office Without Walls

The rise of the internet has given businesses a new... Read More

Story Telling With a Purpose

For a brief time, I tried to sell life insurance.... Read More

5 Reason Why Team Has A 4 Figure Income

You are new to Internet Marketing, you join one Affiliate... Read More

Discovering the Truth on MLM

Truth on mlmDid you know that the truth on mlm... Read More

Communication between franchisees in a franchise system

If you own a franchise you would be wise to... Read More

What Every Manager, Parent, and Teacher Should Know About How to Unify Employees, Families, & Youth

Project Head Start has been successful not only for the... Read More

Motivating Your Employees

CREATE A MOTIVATIONAL CLIMATE: Create a climate where others find... Read More

Leadership ? Do The Simple But Important Things

Why do we human beings complicate things? Is it that... Read More

Conflict Is Cool

Having experienced more than my fair share of conflict over... Read More