Standard Processes — Do We Still Need Them?
Standard processes are the embodiment of best practices that cover the majority of situations that have presented themselves to date. Organizations have also leveraged standard processes for many a merger and acquisition. So why question standard processes?
The problem with standard processes is that they must apply to all process instances or cases so they do not handle exceptions very well. One must stop and incorporate exceptions. When you have complicated and emergent work, the standard process approach tends to create more problems. Emerging better practices are much more appealing than having a super-brain plan for all the exceptions that might ever happen over time.
Customers do not want to be treated as a widget; they want to feel special and appreciated. This runs in the teeth of standard processes. With the kind of customization that clients want, standard processes just do not hack it in today's world, where attracting and keeping clients happy is the goal. The key to revenue generation — the big goal for this year and beyond — centers around customers, so processes will have to evolve to at least become faster to change or to reach an outcome.
Standard processes give an organization a consistency that reduces costs and errors. Standard processes allow for quicker training of resources, supporting the 'end to end' process. In addition, standard processes give one a means to compare processes.
In a world that demands better performance, optimization becomes increasingly important. Standard processes are fairly easy to measure and optimize, while staying within governance goals and tolerances.
We should not throw out the standard processes per se but rather incorporate them in smaller pieces. Such small elements can be leveraged for optimal outcomes, improving consistency and reducing costs while adapting to changing business conditions and new customer focuses. Like gears and sub-assemblies in transmissions that incorporate learning logic around drivers' habits, processes should utilize the best of standard processes while supporting emergent behavior.
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