Bob Tarne, PMP, CSM is an accomplished consultant, speaker, and writer. He is currently an Engagement Manager with IBM as well as an active volunteer with the Project Management Institute. His blog can be found at zen-pm.blogspot.com.
Projects are about changing things, whether it’s a new application to reduce paperwork or a new bridge to shorten commutes. Process improvements should also be thought of as projects — and by applying sound project management techniques, you can improve your chances of success.
Organizations use project portfolio management to help ensure that the right projects are being worked on. A similar approach can be taken with process improvement. The process improvement roadmap starts with developing an inventory of all your processes. This inventory should contain such information as the name and description of each process, its owner, its goals, and criteria for ranking the processes.
Processes may be ranked based on their alignment to business strategy, the effort involved to run them, and their impact on employee satisfaction or business objectives. As in project portfolio management, rankings should be based on the overall goals of the organization. The ranking will help prioritize the processes that should be selected for improvement.
Once a process is selected for improvement, more information is needed. Through workshops or interviews, information is gathered on the existing or “as-is state” of the process. In a typical IT project, a business analyst performs this work. In process improvement, a new role of business process management analyst (BPMA)