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!

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.
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