Posted by: Derek Weeks on: February 22, 2010
Last week we hosted a webinar entitled, “Get Leaner Faster with Business Process Management,” which featured Kevin Haugh, Vice President of Product Marketing for Metastorm, and Brian Chaney, Director of IT Strategy and Architecture for Copper River IT. During the webinar Chaney discussed best practices to kick start a Lean initiative using a Business Process Management (BPM) tool, and commented that BPM is a great way to focus on Lean and provides a quick turnaround time.
In order to achieve the most success with a Lean BPM initiative, Chaney recommended that teams be small and agile. He said that it is important to ensure that a team has the right combination of skill sets, and that all members have a well-defined role. Make sure that the team has the correct mindset to work well with the business analysts and developers, and that everyone is brought into an executable environment. As usual, communication is a key factor in making a team successful, as is supporting the team and development cycles with the right tool sets and skills so that the project can move quickly and effectively.
Chaney also recommended that project managers time box the analysis phase so that the project doesn’t fall into analysis paralysis, because this will diminish its overall value. Setting a limit to the amount of time spent on analysis will help everybody on the team focus on what’s important for the project. With an end goal and a specific date, everyone can be better focused. BPM by nature should be flexible and agile, so it is important to ensure that the team doesn’t get so caught up in analysis that they lose sight of that fact.
Prioritization of requirements is also critical. Make sure the team works on the most important things first. Chaney commented that 20% of processes are used 80% of the time, so if a team can get that core 20% “Leaned,” then they’ve addressed 80% of inefficiencies. He suggested prototyping the top 5 processes to show significant improvement early on, and to get everyone on board to expand the project across the enterprise.
Finally, Chaney encouraged rewarding the team if they have done a good job and are tracking ahead of schedule. Morale is very important to any process improvement initiative. If the team is not productively moving, they’re not really adding value. So, if they’ve achieved their goal for a particular day, tell them to take the rest of the day off, and they will ultimately be more productive in the future.
And don’t forget to sign up for the final webinar in Metastorm’s Lean Webinar Series, Lean to the Power of Three, which will run twice on Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 9:00 AM EST and 1:00 PM EST.
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