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The Human Factor : Why Your Processes Are Bound to Failby@valejegi
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The Human Factor : Why Your Processes Are Bound to Fail

by Valerie EjegiMarch 8th, 2022
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Processes are a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. They give stability and help organize complex ideas or projects and because humans are creatures of habit. We tend to want to “processify” every task we are faced with and expending the least amount of effort. The role of process improvement is to make sure that value, profit, or satisfaction on any level is constantly being maximized by optimizing business processes as the company’s strategic goals and consumer demand evolve.

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Everything we do as humans requires effort. The complexity of the task at hand determines how much effort - mental or physical - we would need to exert to get the job done. Our brains are wired to construct a flow around how we complete tasks. This is may be consciously done or not and the flow may be sequential or not. The point is we would have to go through these mapped out steps in order to achieve our desired end goal.


Processes are a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. They give stability and help organize complex ideas or projects and because humans are creatures of habit. We tend to want to “processify” every task we are faced with and expending the least amount of effort. It's inborn to devise procedures for achieving even the most menial of tasks, including how we get ready for work or school, how we eat, where and how we shop for groceries, how we study, how we cook, and so on. Basically, there’s the process for everything within the scope of “normal human behavior”.


Source : https://www.celonis.com/blog/process-nerds-unite-where-to-go-to-master-the-next-big-thing-in-process-excellence/


On the business side of things, a company’s objectives would typically prioritize giving better returns for shareholders, increasing value for customers, increasing satisfaction levels among employees amongst other critical factors that measure success.


The role of process improvement is to make sure that value, profit, or satisfaction on any level is constantly being maximized by optimizing business processes as the company’s strategic goals and consumer demand evolves.


To improve or design process flows without focusing on or involving the humans who will use them, is like designing a stunning custom-made piece of clothing for a client with the finest fabric, using state-of-the-art machines and gorgeous finishing without taking the body measurement of the client who will wear the piece.

Processes are made for People

When the users who will primarily drive a process aren’t involved in that process Ab Initio, there are good reasons to believe that process will flop. It’s easy to get swayed by the advancements in technology and the advent of highly optimized tools into thinking otherwise. Businesses are often consumed with the zeal to implement tools or adopt enhanced business practices and often forget the people who should be at the center of the project. Oftentimes, it’s the acceptance level of the users that will determine if a process design or improvement will succeed in the real world. In designing processes or remodeling an existing one, process managers should know there are 3 things to consider:

What should work = Best Practices


What can work = Expectation


What ACTUALLY works = Reality


What should work” involves what process principles or models to use, how implementation should be executed and phased. “What can work” is the human view of things - organizational structures, human biases, existing system nuances, and how they affect the design process.

What works” is the conundrum process managers have to contend with. Striking a delicate balance between best practices and expectations.


While we need the principles to guide us in process designs, we must never forget it has to live up to the expectation of the people who will use it else your reality will just become a bunch of routine tasks that achieve well… nothing.


Source: https://me.me/i/clients-expectations-final-product-every-finished-project-be-like-bdf5413a01b943a6a83d2304fb68501f

When people don’t know, they don’t care

In analyzing, the reasons why processes fail, 4 out of 5 points were centered around people:


  • People forget
  • Low adoption by people
  • People lack vision
  • People don’t understand their roles in the process.


When people can’t see the big picture or how a process directly or indirectly affects them, they tune out. A lack of communal vision is a clear indication that the project is probably dead-on-arrival. When a process immediately fails, it’s probably because the people never understood the assignment.


Source : https://tenor.com/view/i-dont-get-it-clueless-big-tom-hanks-gif-11955712


Participants need to be involved. To constantly be in the know of the process changes and updates made, and more importantly, have a proper understanding of the value a process improvement brings to the table. They need to understand the importance of evaluating processes to ensure their objectives align with corporate goals


When processes are being designed, users should be the focus but when processes fail or succeed, processes should be examined


When the outcome of a process is negative and deviates from its intended plan, there’s a tendency to hurriedly identify and blame the fall guy but it’s the process, not people that should be blamed. Name-calling and finger-pointing distract managers from what they need to give precedence to – the process.

People change

Processes are made to help the people who will use these processes execute their jobs in the most efficient, seamless, and transparent way possible to meet end goals. The benefits of business process management are extremely crucial. Repeated processes form the core of a business which eventually helps to boost profits, reduce costs, increase productivity, foster internal collaborations and improve the customer’s experience. Experts say business processes should be audited, optimized, and updated at least once a year. This basically points to the fact that processes don’t last forever, meaning at some point they will have to change.


Source : https://tenor.com/view/who-the-heck-are-you-gif-10953906


As consumer needs change, business climates have to adjust to these changes. Accompanying processes should accommodate these changes in the most efficient way possible. Process users must also be aware of how these changes affect their activities.


As consumer needs change, business climates have to adjust to these changes


The truth is sometimes, process managers cannot always forestall failures from occurring because no matter how hard you try, it's almost impossible to anticipate every fail point in your process design. So, when processes fail, the trick to having a people-focused mindset is to identify and examine the failure points in the current process and find solutions bearing in mind that processes will have to be optimized regularly to suit the dynamic nature of users.