Most approaches to redesigning processes are very analytical. This analytical, or "scientific," approach can alienate and exclude the people who are being asked to change how they do their work. It is usually left to experts, with specialized knowledge for capturing and analyzing data, to propose how processes should be changed. This approach creates the impression that there is a "science of change." Yet, those close to the people and the implementation of re-engineering know that humansystem change is not that precise, and there is an art to achieving expected outcome. The "art of change" recognizes that evoking greater efficiency and new behaviors is not as simple or causal as traditional re-engineering assumes.
The Process Handbook, while based on coordination theory and an analytical scientific approach, was used as a creativity tool that approached change as an art, or at least recognized the intuition and artist's sensibilities needed for effective change. Developments like the Process Compass and the Cafeteria Menu allowed people with less experience to become users of the Process Handbook. Perhaps the ultimate users of process change—those who are expected to change as their work and tasks are altered—could one day themselves redesign their own processes using the Process Handbook.
FinServ HR Planner The whole organization change process—how you get people enrolled and accepting of why a change needs to be made and how it's going to be executed—is very difficult. The complexity of that part of the process is always underestimated. Everyone knows it's the key thing, but it's still a challenge to do it.
Involving large numbers of people may ultimately result in much more successful redesigns—precisely because those who will be affected will be able to influence and "own" the new processes.
MIT Director One of the important things we did in the course of this project was to get more explicit about the methodology for thinking about applying the PH to process change. For instance, there is a matter of art and judgment and intuition about where the likely payoffs are—where you should spend your biggest effort, and what kind of things you could just think cursorily about as opposed to exhaustively analyzing every single possibility. Just being more explicit about that was a big contribution. The most important thing for us to do was to make it as easy as possible to communicate the concepts. To the degree that you can use simple terms and graphical devices as opposed to complex, esoteric, and academic sounding terms—you make it easier to communicate the ideas. It makes less of an "in group/out group," and breaks the barrier to understanding and applying all of those things which are necessary if you want to have 2,000 people doing the design, as opposed to 2.
As with most tools, the Process Handbook can be used in many ways. The Process Handbook was so named deliberately, to avoid the connotation of the tool as an "expert"—but rather as a tool intended to complement people, not substitute them.
One of the opportunities foreseen in developing the concept of the Process Handbook was its role in designing future organizations. What will be the core work of future organizations, and what role will people have in those firms? Peter Drucker has for some time proposed that knowledge is "the only meaningful economic resource." This statement implies that the critical resource in any organization is its people, or "knowledge workers." Can the Process Handbook be used to engage these people in designing processes for applying their knowledge? The learning time required to understand and use the PH is significant. New approaches, like the Process Compass, seem essential to the MIT team's vision of how a Process Handbook could help create organizations of the 21st century.