Research

Process Performance Certification

  • Process - assess the overall health of individual processes and identify the primary drivers and constraints of each process's performance
  • Enterprise - assess the capabilities of all critical operating model elements and evaluate the conditions for process innovation success
  • Individual - assess the capabilities and capacities of change readiness and change leadership

This tool will facilitate:

  • Translating diagnostic insights into prescriptive remedial actions
  • Assisting the organization in assessing its capabilities of today vs. capabilities for tomorrow
  • Connecting short-term symptoms with deeper causes
  • Providing the format for a structured conversation about processes that addresses all the elements of a successful process 'recipe'

There are already many process maturity models in existence, why do we need another?

  • Maturity is the wrong target; performance is the real desired outcome
  • Many are old, outmoded, and stuck in industrial-era thinking and therefore don't address today's extraordinary advances in technology
  • Many understate the importance of culture and behaviors and ignore the linkage between strategic planning and other processes

Continuous Innovation

Large, successful organizations are built for a single dominant purpose: to sustain predictable results, e.g., next year's revenue and profits should look like last year's plus 5%. Nearly everyone focuses on day-to-day operations. Waste is eliminated wherever possible, and slack is taken out. The way that work is done (culture, processes) isn't fundamentally examined - people follow the ways that have worked well in the past with minor tweaking.

Yet, these reasonable behaviors create serious unintended consequences: organizational rigidity, insufficient resources for tomorrow's needs, and fragility in the face of external disruption. Competitors, especially non-traditional industry competitors, can blindside you. Growth is limited by the increase in demand for your traditional products. And, as product lifecycles get shorter and shorter, you can rest on your laurels for less and less time. As the software component of products and services increases, all organizations are becoming more like software and high-tech companies.

In today's fast-paced environment, organizations need capabilities for launching a steady stream of innovative breakthroughs. Continuous (incremental) improvement activities are insufficient because they perpetuate the current business and overlook opportunities and threats of disruption. Internal innovation is insufficient because you need to engage outside resources to get access to new skills quickly and tap into innovation energy. Episodic innovation projects are insufficient because you need a portfolio of projects that can systematically generate change and growth to survive and thrive.

High-tech and software companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google have developed systemic ways to drive serial innovations. They have learned how to manage the tension between day-to-day operations and innovation, and how to discover and execute both sustaining (same customers and value propositions) and disruptive (new customers and value propositions) innovations. Using our process lens, we can describe the unique way they set aside funds for innovation, manage talent and performance, experiment with new products, and partner externally. These are the disciplines of continuous innovation.

Given this picture of an operating model for continuous innovation, we can then examine the changes that large, established companies will need to make to adopt this model. We will build on our experience with business reengineering to address the fundamental business transformation of large, successful organizations to an operating model that enables continuous innovation.

Winning Tomorrow

When the urgent drives out the important, the future suffers.  This topic focuses on how large organizations can find the resources to innovate and provides an innovation playbook that describes the moves needed to succeed.

As research respondents described their situations, it became clear that for many of them, their resource allocations were very short-term. To highlight the problem, the research team created a diagnostic to identify four broad investment areas:

  • The day-to-day world of process execution
  • The stream of incremental improvement activities
  • Smaller, incremental innovations across the operating model
  • Larger, more aggressive innovative thrusts

Using this taxonomy we found that most organizations are extremely loaded on the day-to day element and very busy with incremental improvements as well. This left them with scare resources, time, energy and attention for either dimension of innovation.

Finally this research identified a set of innovation moves, complete with current examples that traditional organizations could take to optimize their innovation outcomes. These included:

  • Operate an internal venture investment fund
  • Operate an internal Kickstarter
  • Create a Silicon Valley outpost
  • Focus and do less
  • Strengthen incubation
  • Aggressively de-layer

Losing Tomorrow

This project’s genesis came from a simple observation.  Whenever we asked anyone how he or she was doing, the consistent reply was “Busy, very busy”. When we probed for what was driving this busy-ness, the chief culprits were endless emails and non-stop meetings.

  • The HBR reported that, the typical US worker spent on average 111 working days/year on email
  • Max Planck Institute for Informatics found that workers conducted 60 scans/day of their smartphones
  • The CDC stated that 1/3 of all working adults get less than 6 hrs. of sleep/night and 69% routinely check their email inbox before they go to sleep every night

In this environment, we found that most respondents reported:

  • They were too busy to think
  • The urgent drives out the important
  • Today’s work leaves no room for tomorrow

The consequences are significant.  First of all, much work was done superficially, “if you were too busy to get it right the first time, how will you ever find the time to fix it?”  Secondly, there was little time left for proactively sensing the external environment for customer and competitor data.  Thirdly, there was scant focus on critical governing processes such as strategic planning, project optimization, or the process of process management. The research concluded with a set of recommendations on:

  • Best practices for taming the email dragon
  • Meeting management principles
  • Sensing process descriptions
  • Governing process designs

The Unexamined Company

In today's stressed environment, the urgent drives out the important. Managers and staff have little time to focus on anything but their day jobs. How does your organization explicitly prepare for the future? What’s your strategic planning process? How does your organization coordinate all your process improvement initiatives?informal meeting

Models for Process Initiatives

What are the alternate structures or models for leading and managing business process initiatives? What are the choices that need to be made in building a process center of excellence?

Managing Non-transactional Processes

Explore how to conduct process design in a highly skilled knowledge-worker environment. What are the best practices for applying redesign principles to a non-transactional process that drives operational excellence?

Role of the Functional Manager

This explores how traditional roles of resource/functional managers and process owners/experts contrast with the comparable roles in a process organization. How the roles evolve/change over time in terms of responsibilities, authorities, and development and also how they change as the organization reaches higher levels of process maturity.

Selecting and Prioritizing Initiatives

How do organizations select and prioritize the initiatives to which available resources are devoted? How is the appropriate level and timing of engagement determined? Should this engagement be continuous, full-time, or intermittent?

Process Metrics

How to successful organizations design their measurement systems? This study isolated a few critical design elements including: strategic objectives and performance indicators, linkage to process metrics and personal performance, distribution of metrics to front-line teams, and a disciplined metrics review and refresh cycle.

Sustainment

How do you ensure a successful transition from a project to execution? This study found two factors are critical: Creating the right organizational structure to sustain business value and developing explicit accountability for change management to address each known barrier to sustainment.

2013

Accountable for Performance

Driving Value Integration

2012

Balancing the VOC Metrics with VOB Metrics

Redesigning Non-Transactional Processes

Models for Process Initiatives

2011

Selecting and Prioritizing Initiatives

Roles of the Functional Manager in a Process Environment

Executive PEMM™

2010

Sustainment Part II

2009

Process Metrics

Leadership

2008

Process Metrics

Process Integration Handbook

Sustainment Research

2007

Governing Processes

Knowledge Work