Episode 4. Arrange the Order and Route of Tasks

Consider concurrent processing

Once you have defined the “trigger (start),” “deliverable (end),” and tasks that compose a business process, we can say the business process is roughly established.

The final step is to arrange the order and route of tasks.

Here are some things we need to consider when discussing the order and route of tasks:

  1. Minimizing the chances of stagnant tasks
  2. Minimizing the chances of held up tasks
  3. Assessing the probability of risk

In reality, it is often more effective to put a business process into operation and improve the problems afterwards, instead of to theoretically discuss improvement points before starting.

However, one method that is surprisingly effective for many problems, although not often implemented, is “concurrent processing.” For example, having several members of the production team simultaneously and independently estimate the production requirements will ensure a safer and more definite average of the estimation. Also, even if one member is not able to execute the task soon enough, the production requirements can be decided on as long as at least one member makes it in time, and a harmful delay can be avoided.

4-2 Prepare shortcuts

When a business process is in operation, one problem that occurs more often than not is “neglected tasks.” This may seem synonymous to “stagnant tasks,” but it indicates a state in which there is no longer any reason to execute the task.

There are various causes for this, as well as different tendencies in each organization, but a common one involves deadlines. That is, tasks that were started with every intention to complete validly, but that could not continue to be processed regularly because of an increasingly impending deadline. For example, there is no reason to have a leader review a proposal that has already been submitted.

For these cases that involve time limitations, it is often more effective to prepare a route that allows omitting middle tasks than to stop processes midway each time.

4-3 Try combining with other business processes

It is often not necessary to divide an “Apply for Paid Leave” process from an “Apply for Long-term Leave” process. Although there may be some differences in the applications, it is fairly reasonable to combine them into an “Apply for Paid or Long-term Leave” process, because of their similar flows and number of tasks. Also, an employee that submits this application only a few times a year would probably appreciate being able to apply for different types of leaves with one business process.

In reality it is not smart to blindly promote common or general business processes without contemplating who will be given authorization to browse past data or how past data will be searched. What we want to say is that when you are creating new business processes it is important to also keep in mind the business processes currently in operation.

4-4 Think of the business process’s operation goal

More often than not, a business process is destined to be redefined countless times even after being put into operation. We want these improvements to focus on the ideal QCD of deliverables and the number of completed processes, and we want to be able to share this information within the organization.

For example, when contemplating matters such as:

  • What can we do to ensure the completion of 10 proposals a week?
  • How can we maintain a quality of proposals that ensures a 60% success rate?

…perhaps someone will come up with a new goal of, say, “completing each proposal within 1 week after writing up the record of proceedings of the client meeting.”

Defining business processes is the most important activity in BPM (Business Process Management). We must be able to design them with adequate deliberation on key performance indicators.

<Key Performance Indicators>

  1. Record of proceedings Goal: 20 a week
  2. Proposal Goal: 10 a week
  3. Estimate sheet Goal: 6 a week, estimate total of \10 mil. a week
  4. Agreement Goal: Receive 4 orders a week, total of \6 mil. a week
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