Have you ever listened to the expression “the devil remains in the details”? I constantly believed that this stating was a little odd … till I started to work in task monitoring. The funny thing is that once I got into project administration this phrase made a lot sense. I can keep in mind getting on one task where the job manager was much also short-sighted. All she cared about was information storage demands as well as essentially absolutely nothing else. For this job manager, the evil one in the details was never ever thought of, beyond the boundaries of data storage anyhow. On one more task, the job manager was so sure of his very own capabilities to “do his job” that he completely neglected the information completely. The latter project had some dreadful outcomes … including Social Security deposits being returned to the state that sent them, which subsequently resulted in that state terminating those payments. To put it simply, major consumer impacts took place due to the fact that individuals were overly confident in their own ability to adjust to a changing procedure.
So what does this relate to job management? Whatever. If a task is producing something special, after that it stands to factor that there are variables that are understood and some that are unidentified. Think about throwing a rock into a lake. You know that the rock hitting the water will certainly trigger a rippling effect on the water’s surface area. What you don’t know is how many surges it will trigger or exactly how much the ripples will spread beyond the first impact. Process monitoring is a means of taking into consideration all that may happen as a result of the ripples in the water.
Allow’s state that there is a task is to carry out brand-new handling software application right into an existing information handling facility. Externally, this looks relatively very easy. The processing center already exists and also the technology is currently in place. So apart from information technology and/or details systems installing the brand-new software as well as some training on how to utilize it, this is a rather very easy task. This is equivalent to throwing the rock into the water. We have a rock, we have water, as well as we know that the rock hitting the water will certainly create a rippling effect. Problem resolved, right? What takes place if all of the users of the new software application are not literally located in the very same processing facility? What happens if there are individuals that send out job to the handling center, by means Project Management Professional of courier, due to the fact that they are remotely situated and also therefore not able to use the technology that is readily available to others? Perhaps this seems strange to you since we reside in the 21st century, however I can guarantee you that it’s not.
Below’s the core of the issue. It’s human nature to make assumptions based upon minimal knowledge and/or lack of details … especially when managing a task. This is why in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is among the requirements for task monitoring, procedure improvement is consisted of in its Project Top quality Management section. Process enhancement, whether you call it process monitoring, process layout, or procedure design, is crucial to ensuring that your project is carried out according to scope. If the job is developed according to extent, yet falls short when put into production, the job is a failure as well as its scope was never ever fulfilled. A fundamental assumption of a job is that it will work once fully applied.
Allow’s take a look at process enhancement from even more of a natural viewpoint. I use the term organic because we hardly ever think about process monitoring as well as job administration together. Like job management, procedure management has actually progressed right into its very own discipline. At its roots though, process management is merely a series of shapes and also arrowheads utilized to highlight a procedure. This is the inherent value of procedure management. It allows you to show the process prior to it is even in position. Rephrase, you can outline the process prior to the project is even near to being finished.
I specified that at its origins, process management is merely a collection of forms and arrows utilized to illustrate a process. You can map a process (additionally called a flowchart) making use of just 3 shapes, an oblong, a rectangle, and a diamond. Each shape represents a certain part of the procedure. An oval stands for the beginning or end of a procedure … the initial or last step. A rectangular shape shows an activity. If you put a rectangular box under an additional box, the second box determines a job. A diamond is a call out for a choice. It demonstrates that there is a yes or no inquiry within the process that needs to be answered. Surprisingly sufficient, this easy shape often is one of the most powerful in identifying voids (one or more breaks in a procedure that can trigger rework, consumer effect, failure, or any other number of issues) within a task and/or process. The arrows are made use of to guide the “circulation” of the procedure from one point to one more.
As an example of the win-win of using procedure management during a task, I was recently on a job where information was being converted from one system to one more. The process for this is commonly described as data mapping. You map the information as well as the fields in the system where they currently live and map them to where they will certainly live in the new system. When this was process mapped, the ruby form was used to ask if the data from our department had actually been mapped to the brand-new system. The response was indeed. The next activity was to figure out exactly how that data would certainly be identified in the brand-new system, to which no person understood the response. This was a substantial space. If the information had been mapped, after that someone needs to have had the ability to inform us what that information would certainly resemble in the new system. We quickly found out that no person can validate that our location had actually been included in the initial information mapping. What would the impact had been if after the job no person could discover the data in the new system? Once more process mapping spent for itself, as it typically does.
Another advantage of procedure mapping is the ability to flowchart the conceptualized procedure. Allow’s claim that there are a variety of activities that you know require to happen and exactly how they will be done. What you might not know is that will certainly do all of the real work. Think about a loan being stemmed. Somebody is mosting likely to take the financing application; somebody is going to process the finance application; somebody is mosting likely to finance the funding; and somebody is mosting likely to close the lending. However that is mosting likely to submit the papers as well as will they be checked right into an imaging application? This is an unidentified. By flowcharting the procedure you are able to take the tasks you recognize will certainly occur and afterwards the activities you “believe” will occur as well as create a photo of the procedure. By utilizing the very same shapes, yet altering the color or texture of the “theoretical” ones, you are able to illustrate the know tasks from the “just how we assume it will be” activities. This permits others to suggest on the procedure prior to there is a conflict, such as incorrect treatments being composed or worse yet, that part of the procedure being totally disregarded.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of procedure mapping, within the context of project management, is that it allows you to better control the work of the project. When the core processes are placed in flowcharts, it is much easier to identify control gaps within the process itself. Control gaps are, in and of themselves, risks within the project. Let’s use the above example of a loan being originated. A decision point (diamond shape) in the process is validating that the loan has been underwritten correctly. What happens if no one validates the underwriting? Or, what if the one validating the underwriting is the same person that underwrote the loan in the first place? Segregation of duties has to be a part of the process in order to protect the integrity of the process itself. A flowchart would show if this control has been sufficiently setup or if there is potential for a control failure.
Finally, the use of swim lanes is another value added dimension of process mapping. Swim lanes are used to track a process through all of the areas that need to be a part of it, in order for the process to be completed. Think of an Olympic pool. You automatically picture a pool with swim lanes, each one belonging to a different swimmer. Again, let’s use the loan origination example. In most cases the origination of a loan takes several areas (called cross-functional areas) working together for a loan to be completely processed. This could entail various areas such as sales, loan application processing, underwriting, closing, and file management. While no single area owns the entire process, they all work a part of the process to ultimately complete a single loan. By employing swim lanes, you segregate each area in the process into its own lane. Then, using the shapes already discussed, you track the process moving from one swim lane to another. This not only illustrates the areas responsible for the entire process, but also the decision points, controls, and ultimately the interdependencies. Getting the process map validated by all of the areas involved seals the deal. Once all agree on the process, a responsibility matrix can be developed and the project is in a better state of control because of it.