All activities in a company are considered to be processes, from purchasing raw materials to handling a customer’s order to setting up a company journal. A process is a series of activities whose main objectives is to generate more value by transforming an inbound item into an outbound item, which in turn can be the inbound item of another process.
In order to be efficient, a business must ensure that its processes and projects are in line with its vision, objective and values, and that the team collaborates with the different services. This is the goal of the project management process, or process-based project management in English.
Process management is an approach that sees the business as a set of processes, managed with the aim of achieving a desired result. It involves evaluating the overall performance of the processes to constantly promote transversal collaboration, continuous improvement and the efficiency of the processes in question.
Management by process makes it possible to decompartmentalize the company and eliminate the silo operation that goes against a more comprehensive approach. In effect, if each department only focuses on its own interests and projects without taking into account the strategic objectives and the overall vision of the company, this will lead to duplication of tasks, wasting time and often financial losses. The performance and profitability of the business is equally at risk of being impacted.
The company manages and improves its processes to enable it to achieve its vision, mission and values. The business’ vision and processes are therefore closely linked to help the business define strategies, put in place a business structure and use sufficient resources necessary for long-term success.
This approach emerged at the start of the 19th century when industrial companies were considering standardizing their manufacturing processes in order to better handle mass production. However, it really took off in the 1980s, thanks in part to the automotive industry and the Toyota production system.
Advantages of this method
The advantages of setting up process-based management include:
- Standardisation of processes.
- Continuous improvement of current processes.
- Increase in activities creating added value.
- Cost reduction.
- Alignment with the strategic vision of the company.
- Better flexibility and regularity in the way of work.
- Improvement in the collaboration and relations between employees from different departments of the business.
- Improvement in the feeling of belonging since all employees work to achieve the overall objectives of the company.
- Optimization of the use of resources to reduce management and operational costs.
How does it work?
To put process-based management in place, 6 steps are followed.
1. Identify the process
To begin, you must clearly identify the processes and take not of them to better understand how they work. Each business department (marketing, finance, human resources, production, etc.) possesses its own processes and produces its own results. So, you need to understand which the different processes are and what they consist of: identify what input the process needs to be operational, what is the expected result, and which departments and / or people are responsible for each step of the process.
2. Define the indicator to evaluate the processes
To improve the performance of processes, their quality and duration, we must first be able to assess their current performance. To do this, define an evaluation system made up of quantifiable indicators for greater clarity. If that is not possible, rely on benchmarking data for meaningful analysis.
3. Analyse the performance of the process
Get started in the evaluation and analysis of process performance using figures and benchmarks. There are many tools to make your job easier, such as graphs, bar charts, pie charts, gap analysis or even cause-effect analysis.
These measures allow the company or the project team to analyse the current state of performance of the processes, to identify weaknesses and errors, ensuring that the set objectives are achieved and to make recommendations to eliminate risks and problems, thus sustainably improving processes.
4. Analyse process stability and adjust goals if necessary
Perform compliance audits to ensure process stability. At this stage, if necessary, new objectives should be defined in accordance with the strategic direction of the organisation.
5. Plan for improvements
During this stage, improvements should be planned in accordance with the company’s vision, mission, and culture. To ensure the success of the proposed changes, an effective team and sufficient resources must be dedicated to the task.
6. Implement the improvements
Now is the time to implement the improvements defined in the previous step. If necessary, training should be organised and the support team should be available as much as possible to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Then, it is essential to set up regular monitoring and continuous improvement of new processes to ensure that they remain efficient.
Process-based Project management is one of the most effective methods to improve the way in which your business and projects are managed in order to achieve a high level of performance. However, it implies a change in mentalities as all employees must understand that they are an integral part of the company and that their work contributes to achieving the strategic objectives of the company, not just those of the department to which they belong.