The way the Process Handbook was used in the special project meetings suggested a new approach for conducting business process redesign to PCC. The team could move quickly from an understanding of how work was done to developing and evaluating alternatives. Generating alternative process designs early was substantially different from typical re-engineering efforts, where significant time and effort is taken up in documenting and costing "as is" processes.
Insights generated from special project meetings totaled 60, with most of these occurring in the first few weeks of meeting. The following are examples of insights that occurred in the early meetings.
Insight for the future process re-engineering efforts: Do process re-engineering consulting in two parallel teams. The first team, made up of people knowledgeable about process details, can supply the second team, made up of high-level visionaries, with enough information about costing yet leave the high-level visionaries free to develop far-reaching analysis.
High-level hiring candidates (e.g., Oracle database analysts) can be viewed as having perishable availability. In addition, they become ripe again a few years later and therefore one strategy may be to cultivate them throughout their careers. On the other hand, entry-level candidates can be regarded as commodities with a certain set of attributes.
One way for FinServ to develop selection criteria might be to do an analysis of past hires and to determine "what did successful people look like at the time they were hired?" One could look at outcome measures (e.g., annual performance evaluation ratings) to determine success.
The characteristics of the people you want to hire are systematizable to a greater degree with "commodity-type" jobs (e.g., customer service reps, etc.). The more senior the position, the less you can systematize job requirements.
Creativity techniques could be added to the PH where the user would be prompted to help brainstorm; for instance, "If you're interested in sourcing, here are some structured questions to ask".
FinServ budgets are driven in part by the current state of the financial markets. The managing process used for job requisitions should match the flexibility inherent in this market.
Job requisitions state what we want the employee to do, but we describe the ideal candidate by how they are, e.g., hard-working, self-motivated, responsible.
Consider the hiring process as a "buying options on a futures market" process.
The "closed-door" thought model helps when thinking about dependencies between two processes. Imagine two parties in windowless rooms: What would they need to communicate? This analysis could be simplified by focusing on the "most promising" ways to manage the dependency.
Focusing on alternatives early on in the redesign process generated more enthusiasm and a creative focus for those engaged in redesign activities—much as the special project team itself was experiencing. A detailed "as is" analysis could come later, on a much more focused basis, when the processes and the ways in which they would change were identified. In a consulting project, a Process Handbook approach would save clients' time and money in the analysis phase, with the added benefit that this approach would also develop the support needed to implement proposed changes.
The combined experience of all the special project team participants was important in seeing the usefulness of a PH approach.
PCC Adjunct Consultant A lot of documentation of the "asis" is really unproductive. It just makes projects go longer and is expensive. The idea of cutting down on that and going straight to design is really interesting and very applicable. You could skim enough knowledge to understand just what you need to change and then do the redesign work. People always find that more interesting, and you can get momentum and enthusiasm going.
MIT Director I have explicitly studied creativity techniques, and am sort of an implicit practitioner of those techniques. In a certain sense a lot of this work is creativity techniques applied to process invention. Instead of having to make up everything from scratch, a lot of the structure and content is already there. The alternatives can be automatically generated and you just have to evaluate them.
PCC Consultant When you go through visioning and do creativity sessions, you hope you'll get ideas. What the PH was actually doing for us was defining, in a much more structured way, the transition from looking at the "as is" to some kind of a new state. When we saw that, it became clear that this was interesting, this was useful.
To what extent might the use of the PH have been determined by the skills and experiences of the PCC consultant, who was known for her skills in bringing creativity into process redesign consulting engagements?
MIT Student Left to their own devices, PCC would have spent a lot of time measuring the efficiency of different parts of the existing process. Typical business process reengineering. What was neat was that the specialization hierarchy really did bring them up to a different level to look at the process in a completely different way. It was interesting to see the Process Handbook used as a brainstorming facilitation tool. I hadn't looked at it that way before. I was impressed by its power to help consultants get out of their box. I thought it could also help people who might not be very knowledgeable do re-engineering. In a lot of projects, consultants get so focused on the nitty-gritty details of the efficiency of a particular process, and then lose sight of the forest for the trees.
MIT Researcher I'd always considered "as is" documentation of questionable worth myself. At [previous employer] we had been implementing a major new software package, and I had been the project manager for its installation. I had wanted to spend two weeks looking at "as-is" and six weeks looking at the way we wanted it to be. I was overruled by a senior manager: "No, we want to spend time looking at the as-is." That eventually took ten weeks with a separate consulting firm, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and producing four inches of documentation, before we even started thinking of the way we wanted things to be. The people who had been involved, who actually understood the as-is, didn't have to have it on paper in order to do it better. They could have gone right to design.