You can have the best process in the world defined. Execution is a different thing.
Time and time again, the handovers within the process are the elements that let a great process down.
If you have more than one person operating your process, handovers have to be at the front of your mind when looking for opportunities to improve your business’ performance.
Teams are typically more difficult than individuals when considering handovers but the fundamental issue is the same:
What do you want, from whom and when?
The analogy of the relay race is a great example. The team that wins have some easily observable characteristics:
- They run the legs of the race quickly.
- The handover of the baton is smooth, efficient and effective.
Converting that to a business process, we get:
- The standard operations for the steps in the process are known and are delivered correctly with the least amount of resource.
- The handover between individuals / teams is documented and executed with no delays and the least amount of resource.
So, what does this mean in practical terms?
- Map out your business process and identify the handovers in your process.
- Clarify what each process step needs to be able to execute efficiently and effectively.
- Detail the outputs from the preceding process step.
- Confirm who owns what task (producing deliverables and accepting inputs).
- Measure the delay associated with the handovers and drive the time down, through continuous improvement.
Taking the delays out of a process is one of the best ways to drive up productivity and business results. If you have any issues with this in your organisation, try this simple mapping approach and see what it can do for you.