Monday, September 9, 2013

Lean Processes, Tip #03

Morph Your Handoffs Into Teamwork

I discussed last week about the need to minimize the number of handoffs, as they build up cycle time and noise in the organization.

When we cannot reduce anymore the number of handoffs, we should try to optimize the handoff process, so that we enable process roles to be more aware of each other in their quest to fulfill the common process goal:

1. Make your upstream roles proactive on the downstream information needs.
This way upstream roles can design templates and checklists before they push the info downstream.

Example: an efficient salesperson (what is that, anyway? :-) ) would follow a predefined checklist when finding out about a new customer to ensure the lead is fully qualified (do they have the budget / the authority, the pain / the urgency to buy?) before proceeding along the sales funnel.

2. Promote downstream roles upstream.
Sometimes you just need to redesign the whole process and have your downstream role take up upstream responsibilities.

To note, this "tip" requires quite a bit of proper transformation within the organization:
- cross-functional trainings;
- setting up stand-ins / back-ups for all process roles;
- setting up systems to automate data validations (in templates and checklists) wherever possible;
- have a Business Process Lifecycle Management practice in place.

I never said it would be easy! :-)

More to come :-)