It is tough to implement the improvement cycle of business processes. Although I honestly want to work on PDCA every month and every week, it takes time to grasp the current situation (Check) and deal with it (Act). Rather, it doesn’t seem to be realistic to upgrade the definition of the business process (Re-Plan). Anyway, I would like to show some ways to repeatedly do small improvements with a little ingenuity.
1. Automatic Aggregation
I’m mainly working on the automatic aggregation of business data these days.
In other words, I’m modeling business processes by automatic periodic aggregation and by collecting data flowing to the business process. The company is run by Business Processes.
To put it plainly, it is an automatic reporting function and I have listed some examples below.
For example, if you create a business process (Workflow App) for aggregating the previous month’s expenses, the process starts automatically because of a timer, processes all the intermediate Tasks and ends. Email notifications to stakeholders and Timeline Posts are commonly set near the end of the flow.
- 222 -Expense Claim
- 222 -notice- Aggregate and notify the previous month expenses (← Monthly, calculated by each staff member)
- 222 -cross- Aggregate the previous month expenses (← Monthly, company-wide)
- 242 – Hours-worked Report
- 242 notice- Update last week’s employee attendance book (← Weekly and by staff)
- 242 b – Part-Time Hours-worked Report
- 242b -cross- Aggregate the total working hours in the previous month by part-time staff
The frequently used Data extraction Task « Questetra BPMS: Process, Batch Extract as TSV »
*Extracts process data as a multi-line TSV string from date-filtered processes. Items are specified in CSV format such as “string:0,date:2,select:3”. Tab code and line feed code are deleted.
2. Are there any differences from monitoring?
Honestly, you don’t need to implement the « aggregation process ». If you want to aggregate business data periodically you should use the monitoring function depending on the case. It helps you aggregate the historical data at any time.
Aggregation processes simply automate that monitoring (and report it).
3. Work I can do anytime = Work I will never do
When reviewing the automatic aggregation, It’s actually really hard for people to see the information.
- It doesn’t mean they aren’t interested
- It doesn’t even mean they aren’t motivated
But they don’t want to review the historical data much.
However, that sentence might be misleading so I’d like to give a further explanation.
I mean, reviewing is usually easier than the new work you face because you just have to look over it. Even so, humans tend to put off doing a review because they don’t see the immediate benefit of it. Consequently, you end up having less time to look at the aggregated data.
If aggregating and reporting KPIs are a part of your work, you might regard it as a priority. However, in that case, you may become tired and less active in reviewing the aggregated work when it is completed. To be clear, you can see KPI information but you won’t go any further or examine it. Therefore, it doesn’t lead to any improvement through the PDCA and BPM cycles at all.
The reason seems to be that if a task can be done at any time (i.e. it doesn’t have a strict deadline), then it’s inevitable that it will never get done.
4. Let’s make an opportunity to Check!
ltimately, an opportunity to inspire the person in charge of the task to do it right now is necessary.
If you look over well-aggregated business data (or review the business), that will encourage everyone to comment and improve it a little. For example:
- Director: whose job is to oversee the business
- Auditor (accounting/internal office auditor): whose job is to audit
The reason why they can review well is that the documents and reports to be checked are integrated into their routine.
For such an opportunity, external triggers are probably significant. Even if you are good at self-management, it’s not easy to start all your tasks with internal triggers (your own will). It’s even possible to forget their existence.
- You have to review, it’s now or never!
- It’s time to review efficiently!
Unless you give yourself the motivation to think of doing it, I’m afraid the opportunity won’t be there indefinitely.
The automatic aggregation notification – aggregated, organized, and delivered on time – has become a pleasant self-management tool for me (for now).