Episode3. Divide the Business Process into Roles and Tasks

Divide by specialty

An estimate sheet is a document that is submitted during meetings with the client. In general, an Estimate Preparation process is managed by the sales team, and the sales team should be the main participant in deliberating the ideal state of the process. Let’s define the input format of this Estimate Preparation process as:

  1. Name of client
  2. Expected date of estimate submission
  3. Range of expected estimate

In this case the data entered at this point may be:

  1. Company A
  2. April 1, 2010
  3. 1.0 – 1.5 million yen

The actual estimate sheet may include:

  • Website specifications for company A
  • Expiration date of estimate: April 15, 2010
  • Expected delivery: May 31, 2010
  • Items for delivery: Data CD (website, setup manual)

Including internal information may also be helpful, such as:

  • Estimated production requirements, time and person in charge of the estimation
  • Expected production members
  • Person in charge of settlement, date of settlement
  • Specification evaluation by person in charge of settlement

In this case, creating the estimate sheet inevitably falls to the production team, and all other tasks are managed by the sales team.

As in this case, business processes that straddle multiple teams are naturally divided into “specialized tasks.”

3-2 Divide the process as much as possible

Dividing tasks offers the additional benefit of permitting downstream workers to check the tasks. So how can we divide business tasks that are executed within the sales team, such as the Client Meeting Report process?

Here are a couple suggestions:

  1. Divide by sales team members, and improve quality of output
  2. Divide within sales team by abilities, such as composition and design.

In the former case, the tasks may be divided into Prepare rough draft, Peer review, and Evaluation, and the sales members can support each other with tips and advice on writing records of proceedings and recording methods.

Alternatively, if we conclude that this job doesn’t need to be divided, it can be made into one task within the Proposal Preparation process.

Make sure the leader is responsible for deliverables

The leader should be responsible for the number and quality of generated outputs. When dividing business processes into tasks, it is best if the responsible person speculates the placement of evaluation and review tasks, in the route to finalizing the deliverable (final output).

One effect of this is stricter conditions for ending the process. In other words, members are not allowed to end it half-heartedly. Dividing execution and supervision does slow down the process to an extent, but the quality is guaranteed to improve.
Another effect is Knowledge Management. If you grade deliverables at the point of completion, this will promote the assessment of best practices when performing similar processes in the future.

3-4 Evaluate the cost structure

When we define the end and beginning of a business process and divide it into tasks, we can then specifically calculate the cost (production requirements) necessary for completing a standard process.p>

Let’s look at a sales team task within a business process regarding the acquisition of an order. We can calculate the following costs:

  1. Client Meeting Report (Record of proceedings) <Goal: 20 cases a week>
    1. 1-1 Meeting, create original documents: 2 hrs x 20
    2. 1-2 Comments by other attending staff: 1 hrs x 20
    3. 1-3 Leader review of record of proceedings: 0.5 hrs x 20
  2. Proposal Preparation (Proposal) <Goal: 10 cases a week>
    1. 2-1 Create proposal draft: 2 hrs x 10
    2. 2-2 Brush-up design of proposal: 1 hrs x 10
    3. 2-3 Review proposal: 0.5 hrs x 10
    4. 2-4 Leader evaluation of proposal: 0.5 hrs x 10
  3. Estimate Preparation (Estimate sheet) <Goal: 6 cases a week>
    1. 3-1 Define estimate outline, explain specific case: 2 hrs x 6
    2. 3-2 Production team review of specifications: 2 hrs x 6
    3. 3-3 Leader review of estimate: 2 hrs x 6
    4. 3-4 Explain estimate to client: 2 hrs x 6
  4. Finalization of Order Agreement (Agreement) <Goal: 4 cases a week>
    1. 4-1 Create agreement draft: 1 hrs x 4
    2. 4-2 Leader review of agreement: 0.5 hrs x 4

In reality, a lot of time is spent on atypical tasks aside from those in clearly defined business processes, such as dealing with tasks within business processes managed by other divisions, or discussing the improvement of business processes.
In the above example, the total execution time is 158 hours per week, but it should be assessed whether this can be performed by the actual number of personnel.

If you carelessly divide a task into too many pieces, you may be stuck with a process in which the goal cannot be achieved with the current number of personnel. You may even have to redefine the deliverables.

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