A Return to First Principles (Part 8), Unwrapping the Process

Based on the process model we discussed in Part 7 of this series, we can now start to understand how process analysis works.

I determine the beginning and end points of the process I wish to analyze. Let’s say, for instance, I isolate a process (activity) that consists of seven steps. I know that at the end of step 7, some finite number of conditions (desired outcomes) must be met. I also know that somewhere, between steps 1-7, I must perform steps that either achieve a desired outcome, move toward achieving a desired outcome, or both.

Thus my process analysis becomes a comparison between the details of a particular process step and the desired outcomes–what the product should look like–after completion of the step. Another way to ask the question: is the current best way we know how to perform the step adequate to achieve all desired outcomes at the end of the step?

Analysis is a step-by-step process, because if I am unable to obtain the desired outcomes at step 1, I know that I am providing defective inputs to step 2, and my chances of success are now diminshed (I have never seen a step that could compensate for a failure in a prior step).

This process of task analysis lends itself to graphical representation, which in turn lends itself to a team analysis or problem-solving activity. The graphical device is a process map that I refer to as a Purpose Map. The Purpose Map is foundational to process understanding, whether to improve a process, identify waste or analyze an accident or incident involving a process.

Since the Purpose Map is better studied visually, I invite all readers to request a free copy of my Guide to Purpose Mapping. To save money, you may also wish at this time to bundle this Guide to the free Writing Operating Procedures course I make available to anyone who asks. Contact me at mrprocedure@gmail.com.

Thanks, and we will continue our discussion of the First Principles of Instructional Communication in our next post!

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About Tim James "Mr. Procedure"

A communicator; all-purpose capability in writing, designing and presenting training for all facets of organizational function. While my focus has been manufacturing, my training/development experience includes supervisory and lead person development, audit processes, continuous improvement and Lean, and Quality Management System implementation.
This entry was posted in Continuous improvement, Culture change, Instructional Communication, Procedures, Process and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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