Information Technology Services (ITS)

An Introduction to Process Streamlining

Published on: January 31, 2013

Image Credit: JM Associates

As a process owner, it is without a doubt that your ultimate goal is to meet your client’s expectations.  To achieve this, you need to reduce the amount of time required to serve the client.   So, how do you begin to examine the possible ways to remove unnecessary complexities, increase adaptability to future needs of your client and reduce bureaucracy?  The answer is simple: Process Streamlining. 

Process streamlining is defined as incrementally improving an overall process by improving or redesigning its individual steps and subprocesses.  

If you take a moment and examine one task you do every day, do you feel that it could be done differently?  Is there a hidden path you could take that is more efficient?  Can you optimize the amount of time spent on a task in order to free more time for innovation?  This is the key focus of process streamlining.   

Take the first step…

Get in touch with your process by taking some space away from it first.  It may sound like an oxymoron; but consider this.  Since you organization designed the process you use; how much has changed?  Do your clients have different needs and expectations now?  By giving your team an opportunity to step away from being immersed in the process, the opportunity presents itself to examine how efficient and relevant that process is against the new service level expectations.    Taking the time to map out how something works in order to identify gaps and bottlenecks can only have a positive effect.  You either identify what you are doing is correct or you find out how to better meet your client’s expectations.  It’s a win-win scenario.  

See the Benefits

The process streamlining methodology provides a structured approach for revisiting, reviewing and improving the internal effectiveness and efficiency of a process for the your team while also evaluating and improving its value for clients.  So, what should you expect to see come out of this exercise?

Your team will be introduced to the concept of change management.   Although this is a familiar concept to many; it is an important aspect, as making changes is difficult.  That is why the process streamlining methodology is designed to give the team involved tools and resources to facilitate the necessary transition to an improved process.

Next, your team will be challenged to take a walk in their client’s shoes.  Doing this gives your them the opportunity to take a different perspective of the process.  Once this takes place, the perspective of completing tasks also changes and allows the team to refocus on the client.

Last, but not least, focus on the process by examining and fixing individual steps.    In many cases it could be that only a few steps deeply embedded in the overall process happen to create a negative experience for the client.  By separating the process with a focus on creating a positive end-result, your team can make significant impact.

In the next issue,  we will discuss how Process Streamlining  is utilized for NGSIS projects and review the typical timeline for this type of exercise.  

Content contributed by JM Associates, experts on the process streamlining  methodology. Thank you.