Business Process Improvement - Project Implementation

Business Process Improvement projects are undertaken by Organizations from time to time to improve their internal performance and operational efficiencies. Success of BPI project depends largely upon two factors. First and foremost, the BPI project depends upon its sponsors who should ideally be drawn from the Management and the Business Unit Heads. Sponsorship and facilitation as well as ownership and sponsorship of the project from the top ensures that the right communication reaches all employees concerned and paves way for smooth implementation. The second factor that is critical to the project is the PIT. Process Improvement Team consisting of the Process Owner and the Team that is selected owns the project and takes on the responsibility of taking the project forward.

Project Implementation Team

It is the Project Implementation Team that is mainly responsible for managing and driving the project using the EIT or the Executive Team consisting of Management to sponsor and facilitate the program. Depending upon the Project and the process, it is better to limit the size of the PIT team to around twenty at the most. The members of the PIT team should be selected from amongst the department leaders or those that are leading the process from each of the concerned department.

PIT Training and Activities

PIT members who are chosen from the operational teams would need to be oriented and trained in BPI techniques. They come equipped with the process knowledge. When trained and equipped with the BPI techniques, they will be able to take the responsibility of designing improved processes and implementing the improved process.

The brief activities of the PIT Team would entail:

  • Process Mapping - Walking through the detailed process, talking to each and every operational member to understand the process, collect information on the current timelines for each and every activity and tabulate the quality requirements of the current process.
  • Gather details of the resources and costs involved in the current process.
  • Identify process owners, dependants, customers and other people who are affected, interact with and involved in the process.
  • Apply BPI techniques to refine the process or automate the current process.
  • Draw up implementation plan for introducing the improvements that have been designed after review and discussions.
  • Establish measurement and reporting criteria for the newly introduced improved process.
  • Develop model implementation plan including reporting and monitoring plans.
  • Draw up Status monitoring and review plan.

Sub PI Teams

Depending upon the size of the project and the complexity of the process that needs to be improved, the implementation plan may warrant forming additional sub implementation teams that are smaller in size to focus on certain sub processes. Typically when a process improvement involves automation or introduction of new technology or total change of process which needs to be implemented and transitioned without disturbing the ongoing operations or with least down time affecting the business operations, it becomes necessary to have smaller teams that can focus on the specific part of the process or on the critical sub processes.

Functional Specialist or Process Specialist

In cases where the team requires a functionalist specialist to be involved in contributing to the process improvement, such specialists may be engaged for specific tasks. These specialists may come from within the Organization or may need to be hired. In cases where the process is being transitioned to an ERP system driven process and is being automated, the need for the functional IT specialist becomes necessary for the process discussions and implementations. In such cases, the ERP vendor would need to bring in his functional specialist to participate in designing the improved process.

The above are but a few of the critical components of a BPI team. Depending upon the span of control and the scale of the project, suitable sub teams, groups and additional resources may have to be deployed as the case may be. In case a improved process implementation is scheduled across several business units at the same time and if it involves more than one geographical location, then the project management team would have to be structured suitably to ensure effective control, monitoring as well as local ownership at all locations.


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