The woman who runs the box office is a woman 'of a certain age' who has - over the years - developed a slick, well run method of handling ticket sales. She uses Excel to track individual seats and has a colour-coding system to identify who has ordered, who has paid and who will pick tickets up on the door.
For her it works well.
However it is inefficient, slow, complex and - with all the best will in the world - outdated.
A short while ago we attempted to automate some of the process using standard web applications. This was met with a stony wall of rejection. Her comment? "If it works why do we have to change it?"
That's a cry I hear time and time again across the process world. "If it works why do we have to change it?"
And the cry is a valid one. If a process or system has been developed over the years to be optimised for a particular method of doing things, why should a review seek to change or modify that process?
The short answer is it shouldn't. However the fact that a process is running well in a single way does not mean it is running the best way. Take, for example, the insurance company example I quoted on an earlier post. They had a superfluous step in their process which had arisen as a result of factors that had changed since the process had been developed. The same for the laundry service. If you had asked them if they were following the best process they would, undoubtedly have said yes. But they weren't.
The other factor which links into this is almost certainly an aversion to change. Studies have shown that bad change management is one of the key factors surrounding project failure. In the case of changing a 'tried and tested' process this is even more critical. Especially if the process has been customised by the people who perform it to make their life easier.
In every instance where you are reviewing the process look at it from the point of view of 'just because it is running and well integrated at the moment does not mean it is efficient and cannot be improved'
People won't like the fact that they may have to change (and they may attempt to slide back to the old way of doing things at a later date), but your process will be much improved as a result
The Perfect Process Project Second Edition' is now available. Don't miss the chance to get this valuable insight into how to make business processes work for you. Click this link and follow the instructions to get this book.
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