10 Process Components You Should Define

Where there is no standard, there can be no Kaizen – Taiichi Ohno

Process models are essential to organizations because they provide a standard description of key business processes that lie at the heart of organizational operations. In organizations where few people understand how a process works, workarounds will be introduced, leading to inefficiencies and a lack of transparency. To avoid a situation of complete chaos, it is important to emphasize the definition of key business processes and create a common understanding of how things work in the organization.

Why Bother Defining Processes?

Here are some benefits of a well-defined process:

  • It improves communication
  • It creates transparency in the areas of cost, schedule and quality
  • It facilitates analysis & process automation and
  • It provides a basis for training new process participants.

Defining (and documenting) a process is one of the first steps to understanding how it works. Process improvement starts first with understanding how the process works, so whether you’re interviewing process participants or observing a process, here are 10 process components that will help you arrive at a high-level description of the process.

  1. Process Name - Provide a name for the process. Process names usually start with a verb, for example, “Apply For Leave”.
  2. Process Owner -  Describes the person that is responsible for the process and its outcome. The Process Owner is responsible for defining the rules that govern the operations of the process and making changes to it.
  3. Triggering Events – These are conditions that must be met at the beginning of the process.
  4. Terminating Events – These are the conditions that must be met at the end of the process. What is the state of the system when the process ends?
  5. Inputs – What resources are used or consumed by the process? Inputs are the resources needed to execute the process.
  6. Outputs – These are items created as a result of the process.
  7. Activities  & Actors  - These describe the steps in the process along with the actors responsible for executing each step.
  8. Enablers – What tools are used during the process? Which platforms support the process? Examples include paper forms and software applications.
  9. Metrics – What aspects of the process are measured? For example, the amount of time it takes to complete a cycle.
  10. Customer - Who will benefit from the outcome of the process?

Your understanding of these process components will form the basis of the process models you produce and can help in visualising how the process can be improved as a whole.

What other process components do you define?

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