Process silos get a bad rap. They’re blamed for process failures. In reality, silos happen naturally and organically as work volume grows. We have to specialize tasks for efficiency, as in “Joe, you focus on this task and hand your work off to Jane. She’ll focus on the next task.” And so on.
Eventually, Joe or Jane needs help so we add staff or technology, and a silo develops. Sometimes cross-training Joe and Jane helps the workflow. But silos — task-focused teams are inevitable and necessary. As some volume of growth, Marketing will partition from Sales, who will partition from Order Fulfillment, who will partition from Accounts Receivable, for example.
Silos require workflow design and oversight — process management by any other title. That means adding overhead labor. How work is handed off between silos must be deliberate and watched. The quality of work handed off must be fit for use, something best negotiated by experts from the giving and receiving silo, including how they’ll communicate the hand-off. In other words, silos without deliberate workflow management will fail to deliver the efficiencies they promise.
Silos that do not collaborate up and down stream fail.
Look for workflow design or oversight mistakes first.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2020-11-20 13:44:592020-11-20 13:45:00One Minute Process Mastery Tip #3: Silos Require Workflow Oversight
“All of us are smarter than any one of us.” is attributed to Ken Blanchard of The One Minute Manager fame. While it’s not necessarily true when us is a mob, it is certainly true in the world of process management. As process cycles grow, skilled work is naturally and necessarily partitioned (silos) for efficient resource use. Silos, as few as sensible, are smart management when we add good hand-off coordination — process management.
Over time, each silo develops a unique set of needs and makes receiving and handing off work more involved. As these silos grow and harden, the data and wisdom necessary to manage the process partitions as well. The insights of each silo’s experts must come together to do what is best for the process as a whole. Practically, process improvement must be delegated to an end-to-end expert team to deliver best solutions. All of us are indeed smarter than any one of us. When they see it, they will fix it.
Process Triage facilitators are great sounding boards for dealing with business process issues. Contact usfor a no obligation, no solicitation conversation.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2020-08-04 11:59:172020-08-04 11:59:19One Minute Process Mastery Tip #2: All of Us Are Smarter Than Any One of Us
This One Minute Process Mastery Tip is the first in a series of my pay-it-forward observations focused on solving business process failures (and spotting opportunities). Each tip is succinct, practical, and proven. Enjoy.
When a process fails somewhere — such as a deliverable is late or its quality disputed or costs too much, don’t conclude it’s a people problem first.Check the process first.
As your best practices deliver business growth, processes that use them fail because they may not be designed for more volume or cycles. It’s not necessarily an operator or supervisor failure — a people problem. What worked at “X” volume fails at “1X” volume. No one deliberately hires incompetent people; the process simply outgrew itself. Processes break as they grow and it’s normal. By focusing your first conversation on the process you encourage problem solving and empowerment. Consider a people problem when those responsible don’t bring fact-driven, ready to approve-the-purchase order solutions. It’s the ball before the player.
Warning: If you try to fix a process with a design failure thinking it’s a people problem, you’ll upset your people (Oh Crap!) and not solve the process problem (Double Crap!)
Process Triage facilitators are great sounding boards for dealing with business process issues. Contact usfor a no obligation, no solicitation conversation.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2020-07-30 10:43:502020-07-30 10:49:15One Minute Process Mastery Tip #1: Fix The Ball Before the Player.
I’ve been a fan of Ray Dalio, co-founder of Bridgewater Associates. He recently published Principles: Life and Workisboth an autobiography and and exposition of his core values. Mr. Dalio is notably recognized for his emphasis on building an organization that makes great decisions based on radical truth and transparency. Bridgewater is the largest United States hedge fund manager with some $150 Billion under management.
Mr. Dalio itemizes and explains the rationale behind scores of principles. A core set of these principles is his 5-Step Process (about page 260 on my ebook) for improving an organization. Each step is listed below, followed by how our flagship Process Triage workshop practices these steps. (I’m not saying PT does these 5-Steps the way Bridgewater does, but we follow the pattern.)
Have clear goals. The Process Triage workshop’s prework includes a Process Capability Goal. It describes what the process we’re triaging must be capable of performing and delivering in measurable terms. If the process can sustain the goal, it will contribute its share of a larger organizational objective. The workshop’s executive sponsor assigns this goal’s writing to an understudy (the workshop host) for professional development. Every improvement the triage team proposes and prioritizes will, if implemented, deliver progress towards this goal.
Identify the problems preventing the goals from being achieved. We identify problems — we call them Pain Points, with the most believable, Go-to experts in the process we’re triaging. They’re hand picked by the host. Each triage team consists of the most believable, closest-to-the-work performers of the work. Every pain point must be described in measurable terms — counting how much and how often something happens that inhibits the capability goal. It’s radically truthful and radically transparent. Each triager is provided the respect, empathy, and listened-to attention as they identify pain points. Given each triager sees only a portion of the whole process, they’ll see pain points across the whole process after everyone’s contributed. Their situational awareness and diagnostic insights make all of them smarter than any one of them.
Diagnose parts of the machine. Using the ProcessTriage® Protocol, the team examines each pain point and selects the type of solution and sizes its level of effort. The four solutions are:
ANALYZE a pain point for a cause that’s not obvious, then triage that cause(s). DESIGN a best practice (procedure, tool, technology, policy, instruction, etc.) that stops the problem.
TRAIN an existing best practice.
ENFORCE a trained best practice.
The typical, 10-member triage team will sort (not solve), size, and prioritize about 20 improvements per workshop from 30 pain points. Every proposal is believable and has strategic fit.
Design changes Each triage generates a Process Triage Profile™, much like a personality profile like Meyers-Briggs or DISC®. This profile highlights how much best practice design work is needed compared to training and enforcing existing best practices. This gives improvement leaders a clear-eyed understanding about what they face in reaching their goals. You cannot scale a process with design issues — you’ll just create crap faster if you hit the gas. If the focus is training and enforcement, it’s all about people and resource management.
Doing what’s needed. The triage workshop’s Host writes the post-triage implementation plan and submits this to the Sponsor. (Our certified facilitator coaches as needed.) This plan should be signature ready and executable when approved.
Radical truth and radical transparency sounds good. We know it works when we create an expert facilitated space for teams to experience it respectfully and emphatically.
If your core process team welcomes an immersion in this, give us a call.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2018-01-10 15:46:562018-01-10 16:05:00Process Triaging syncs with Ray Dalio's Life Principles (5-Steps)
I owe whatever successes I’ve enjoyed to the men and women who stopped to teach me.
I cannot help but remember some of their pithy teaching points, like Teach your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
My weakness (among many) is marketing. Seth Godin’s Marketing Seminar is helping me with it. One of the teaching points is about focusing on who will be interested in what I’m interested in helping with — People Like Us.
So here’s my bullet point list, of who ProcessTriage® people are:
People like us build great teams, building members who…
Get our core values.
Leave whatever they touch better off.
Fill every moment with stuff that matters.
Know who does and needs what — workflow awareness.
Are empathetic and hyper-accountable to each other and our customers.
Are effective issue processors and solution triagers.
Have each other’s and our customers’ backs.
Are high-motor go-to professionals
Teach their strengths and improve their weaknesses.
Take stuff off their boss’s plate.
Live deliberate lives.
Bring solutions and welcome better ones.
Add something to every person they touch.
People like us build great teams.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2017-06-05 09:18:562017-06-05 13:14:08People Like Us .... Build Continuously Better Teams
We’ve known for some time why executives sponsor our team triaging workshop, succinctly listed by EOS® Implementer Jonathan Smith.
The Core ‘Driveshaft’ Process is Unclear
This process is too complex
The process works inconsistently
The process’s lack of clarity is creating chaos
They need stakeholder buy-in and ownership to change it
They are in a lot of pain
They are frustrated and want help
We also know that the highest performing teams are hyper-accountable to each other. This accountability comes from extremely high situational awareness — they know their process and who’s doing and needing what to meet their responsibilities and expectations.
These participants are the sponsor’s own Go-To Experts, who live and breathe and sweat and laugh and scream and yell and do the actual work of the process they’ve triaged. They typically identify about 35 recurring process-related behaviors or events (not people issues) they want stopped. They triage — sort, not solve these pain points into about 15 to 25 proposed improvements. If they follow through and implement these proposals, the process improves toward its capability goal.
We close each ProcessTriage® Workshop with an anonymous Participant’s Survey. We ask them to score their satisfactions from 1-to-10, with 10 being the most satisfied. We want an average of 8 points or better. We summarize these findings with the triagers’ remarks in a sponsor’s report.
Here are three of the questions and their satisfaction scores from the last 50 workshops. The sample size is 455 participants (triagers).
So — if you want to improve your core process team’s situational awareness and member empathy and accountability, we welcome your call. Rosey @ 913-269-3410.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2017-05-23 11:20:242017-12-03 16:10:38The Latest Data on Our Triaging Workshop Satisfactions.
Let’s begin this New Year with something fresh and clean and thoughtful and, maybe, kick-butt useful to our integrators and operations lovers.
Introducing our Process Triage Profile.
A Process Triage Profile paints a picture of what your immediate process improvement focus should be, according to your team that triaged the process.
Recall, a Process Point-of-Pain is any recurring event or behavior happening to or in a process that inhibits its performance capability — like quality or volume or speed. When we remove the pain point, the process performs closer to its capability goals. Process Triaging is all about issue-processing these Pain Points into a Solutions, sorted into one of four types of solutions:
Analyzefor a root cause if we don’t know the most likely cause enough,
Design a best practice method or technology if we don’t have something off-the-shelf that prevents the pain (if we use it!),
Trainthis best practice or technology is it needs reminding, and/or
Enforce the best practice with our management operating system if we’ve eliminated the first three solutions. By enforce, we don’t mean some heavy-handed supervision. We’re just saying we know the cause, have a best practice, and don’t need to train it. We need to focus on execution and doing what we know to do. The execution tactics can involve any aspect of our operating practices in any area.
After the solution is selected, we estimate its level of effort. We call it a Small Now for an action item / task-size deliverable or a Big Now if t’s a larger, project-size effort.
After all the Points-of-Pain are triaged, the triage team ranks the proposals by their highest, most capability improving value.
Your triage host writes post-triage Implementation Plan, and either schedules and assigns a proposals for immediate pursuit or declares it Not Yet until you free up some resources (which they estimate).
A Process Triage Session is an all-day (typically) facilitated workshop with your process’s experts — the go-to professionals who know and live and breath the process. They’ll generate, typically, 35 to 45 Points-of-Pain and triage them into 18 to 24 solutions — (Analyze “x” for a root cause or, Design, Train, and/or Enforce best practice “x”) .
A team’s triage solutions set that consists of mostly Analyze’s (for root causes) or Design’s (best practices or tools) asserts the process’s best practices or tools need definition. These improvements should be put in place before asking more of the process. (Otherwise, you’ll just create crap faster!). Here’s what that Process Triage Profile looks like:
Heavy Analysis & Design Best Practice Triage Profile Example.
If a team’s proposals are mostly Train or Enforce existing best practices or tools, then the organization’s operating practices need a closer look. Practices like hiring and performance accountability. Maybe its resource planning and logistics or process control reporting, and so on. That Process Triage Profile looks like this:
Heave Train & Enforce Best Practices (Ops Excellence) Triage Profile
These different profiles give the leader an at-a-glance picture of what faces them as they undertake continuous improvements. They can better manage expectations, understand how fast things can improve. Triaging helps them recognize if their focus should be on better best practices (the first example) or tuning their operating system (the second example).
We’ll include a Process Improvement Profile with our flagship Process Triage Workshop going forward.
Consider your own core, driveshaft process. From Bid-to-Cash, or Lead-to-Cash — your customer-facing work. What do you suppose your Process Improvement Profile looks like?
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2017-01-02 22:02:142017-01-06 21:06:39What's Your Process's Triage Profile?
Occasionally there is a change in executive leadership after a Process Triage. Naturally, the triagers wonder if their efforts will be supported, at best, or stalled out or stopped, at worst.
Since the process improvement proposals — the Small Now action items andBig Now project-size efforts are identified and prioritized bottoms-up, by the technical expert triagers, a change in senior leadership doesn’t invalidate the triage findings unless the enterprise is fundamentally changing what it must be capable of doing — certainly in the short term.
Consider using the triage results to onboard the new leader. Have the triage team lead this briefing as a individual and team development moment. First review the process map, then the Process Capability Goal, then the improvement proposals deck. Have the owner of each action item or project present their proposal and report its progress.
This is a great way to acquaint the new executive with some of their expert front-liners. No doubt the new leader wants some quick wins and establish credibility with your go-to experts. This gives the leader the facts, information, and situational awareness to immediately course correct (unlikely) and maintain the improvements momentum.
Here’s a video clip about this HERE, to explain it.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2016-12-03 09:30:192016-12-03 09:30:19Use Triaging to Onboard Executives Faster
This thing called a BRAND means a lot of things. And a lot of noise is blasted about regarding how to design them, build them, exploit them — it’s like a discussion about God; there are few things as complex but everybody’s an expert.
Here’s what works for me, being the second son of a cowboy, born and raised with Border Collies, Blue Heelers, and Australian Shepherds. My first exposure to the word “brand” was feeling the white-hot branding iron head welded on the end of a fireplace poker, heat radiating onto my face and up my nose and into my eyes. Then the sound of it sizzling the flank of a tied-down calf and the sound of said calf bellowing out in searing pain and seeing its wild-eyed terror. That’s a brand!
I think our brand is that lingering feeling someone has, down in their lizard-brain after we’ve touched them. If we branded them correctly, it’s a pleasant feeling that, at its best, excites some sharing, and at least ends all that analysis hassle of the buying process. When they see us — the branding in our marketing, that residual feeling butterfly kisses their consciousness. They’ll do business with us when they need us, no analysis needed.
But…. Show me the money!
A simple way know if you have that kind of brand is separate your sales into two piles: the sales you won by out-bound selling activity and the sales you simply took the order with essentially zero selling. The sales from simple order-taking is the value of your brand. What’s your share of revenue is brand-driven?
P.S. And the Sales Process isn’t done until the next sale is simple order taking.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2016-08-09 10:01:352016-08-23 11:27:26A Simple Way to Calculate Your Brand's Value
A client sponsored a triage of one of their high-value business processes, one that receives and evaluates eligibility requests for a financial benefit. One triager’s point-of-pain was an observation that 70% of requests required rework — reaching out and contacting the applicant for additional information. How or why this information was not captured at the first attempt became an improvement to analyze.
But what is the cost of 70% rework? Inquiring minds want to know. (You can be sure this 70% will be laser-focused fixed now that the team sees it. To their credit, it’s an all-hands-on-deck effort. Some of this rework is caused by unverifiable info from applicants — garbage in.)
I suspected it was exponential — at least non-linear, assuming each attempt had the same probability of failure for illustration purposes. Naturally, real data would adjust this accordingly.
What it tells us is you’ll process twice as many requests as you need to when your re-touch rates are 40% or so. You’re processing three times as many customer touches at about 70% rework. That’s two-thirds of your resources unavailable do something else! The chart gets crazy-ugly at failure rates above 70%, by the way.
We call that kind of process failure a dumpster fire. At 70% rework or customer re-touch, two thirds of your touches are avoidable if your process is designed to deliver a one-and-done customer experience.
The remedy is a blinding flash of the obvious: Reason-code every failure, sort the volume of these reasons using Pareto rules, resolve them in highest-volume order, and raise first attempt success to something less than 10% for starters. If automated systems are used to capture the required information, present it list or check boxes, mandatory field captures, use good scan-and-attach tools, and by all means attempt to educate the benefits applicant on what’s needed before attempting. Here’s my spreadsheet.
That’s what first attempt resolution is worth.
https://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.png00Joseph Rosenbergerhttps://processtriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/logopng2-300x110.pngJoseph Rosenberger2016-05-17 17:32:412016-09-07 15:18:34What Is the Value of 1st Attempt Success?