There are two ways to answer this question, one inside the process itself and one in the external process environment. Within a given process are a number of performance drivers such as design, purpose, and process accountability. Collectively, these are the essential indicators of future process performance.
But all processes are also dependent on the enterprise context. No process is an island, and every core, enabling, or governing process is affected by the level of process leadership within the organization. Every process’s design is linked to the quality and the output of the strategic planning process, and every process’s performers are deeply impacted by the nature of the organization’s culture.
Therefore, to assess process performance, two separate but connected dimensions need to be surveyed, the Six Performance Drivers discussed in my last blog, and the Seven Enterprise Process Enablers discussed below. The first three represent Enterprise Governing processes that shape the focus of all processes. The next two are Enterprise Enabling Processes, which cultivate key resources, and the final two embody critical enterprise context factors.
1. Strategy Formulation Process – All processes need to be tuned to achieve clearly articulated strategic imperatives. Value is defined by the strategic plan, therefore without a well-defined strategy, process outcomes cannot be effectively articulated.
- Is the strategy clear and well communicated into every process?
- Does the strategy clearly define the metric architecture?
- Are resources explicitly balanced between today’s success and tomorrow’s success?
2. Process Management Process – Process value is created when there is a well-resourced and supportive process infrastructure.
- Is the Enterprise Process Model well defined, detailed, and current?
- Are there Executive process leaders with clout aligned to every important process?
- Is there a functioning Process Center of Excellence driving process improvement capabilities across the organization?
3. Project Optimization Process – There’s always more opportunity to improve than resources, so process value is created by a disciplined approach to prioritizing, selecting, staffing, and supporting projects.
- Is there an enterprise Project Management Office to prioritize, charter, and support process projects?
- Has the organization chartered the right number of projects so that they are well coordinated and well staffed?
- Is the project success rate over 75%?
4. Enterprise People Processes – Most management systems cut across the entire organization, so these HR processes are critical to ensuring that the organization has the capabilities to ensure current and future process value creation.
- Are the organization’s values actively lived?
- Are critical capabilities identified and sourced five years into the future?
- Are there sufficient change agents to support continuous change?
- Are process performers sufficiently engaged to actively improve their work?
5. Enterprise Technology Processes – Increasingly, competitive value is created at the intersection of process innovation and new technology. What was once impossible is becoming the new norm.
- Are the organization’s software development capabilities keeping up with escalating requirements?
- Is the technological infrastructure robust and flexible?
- Is the right data available to the right people, at the right time, and in the right format?
- Are new technologies being actively investigated, experimented with, and exploited?
6. Culture – Without a supportive culture, none of the other value enablers can be effective. Core behaviors that drive value include:
- Customer focus
- Openness to change and constant striving for improvement
7. Leadership – Finally, value is created or destroyed by the actions of senior leadership. Those at the top wield the most power and have the highest levels of influence on all process activities.
- Are we balanced between today’s world and tomorrow’s in terms of investment?
- Do we hold executives accountable for their actions and promises?
- Does the senior group behave as a high-performance team?
- Do the senior executives demonstrate ‘process-thinking’ styles?
For those looking for a disciplined way to assess future process performance, we recommend an assessment of the six Process Value Drivers and the seven Enterprise enablers.