I too often meet organizations where processes primarily are identified as a structure of activities. “First we purchase parts. The product is then assembled and finally we send it to the customer.” Doing like this enables us to control work. “Yes, we assemble!” But it doesn’t enable us to control quality of result. “What is ok result?” Furthermore, bad quality in inputs tend to follow the activities without being detected. Finally, is such a process, described primarily by activities, hard to understand from a user perspective. “Ok, I shall work, but what do you expect me to deliver?”
Focus on deliverables when you design a process! Start with outputs to the customer. What shall we deliver? What is the criteria to be meet by this delivery? When we understand this, the purpose of the process is understood and we are able to monitor its performance.
From the output we identify intermediate deliverables within the process. Do we need specific type of information, do we need product components, do we need equipment, do we need resources, etc.? We will create a basic process design by walking backwards, from the output of the process, and step by step lay out a blueprint of the logical relation between the intermediate deliverables. The approach will lead us to the starting point of the process. This is where we find inputs from externa suppliers or other internal processes.
At this stage in the process design work we have a blueprint of input deliverables – intermediate deliverables – output deliverables and the logical interaction between them. Now, it is time to add activities. We identify activities in between deliverables having a logical direct relation. The activities shall describe what we have to do in order to transform one type of input to a wanted output.
Identify your outputs from the process and start walking.