Process Improvement Organization

In today’s economy, processes are constantly evolving as organizations seek new ways to reduce costs, improve operations, increase productivity, and eliminate waste.

Managing these diverse efforts along with the people, resources, technology, and communication that go along with them is often a challenging endeavor.

An effective solution, one that is created to establish a more centralized management structure for Process ImprovementOpens in new window efforts, is the Process Improvement Organization.

A Process Improvement Organization is assigned various responsibilities associated with the centralized and coordinated management of Process Improvement efforts and projects across an enterprise.

Responsibilities of a Process Improvement Organization can range from directly managing Process Improvement ProjectsOpens in new window, to implementing and modeling business process architectures, to simply providing Process Improvement support to functional managers by way of guidance and education.

The function provides organizations with skilled Process Improvement Professionals who provide oversight and leadership services throughout improvement activities, either in a consulting arrangement or as dedicated delivery managers or subject matter experts.

They deliver the necessary architectures, proceduresOpens in new window, systems, and tools necessary to achieve effective Process ImprovementOpens in new window by leveraging various methodologies and standards, allocating resources, establishing consistent performance criteria, and reducing duplication of efforts within an organization.

How a Process Improvement Organization is staffed or structured depends on a variety of organizational factors including targeted goals, traditional strengths, and the cultural imperatives of the organization or enterprise it supports.

Process Improvement projectsOpens in new window managed by the organization are not necessarily related to one another. However, they must provide some form of value or improvement to the organizationOpens in new window and must consider the overarching business process architecture, as well as any customer who might benefit from the endeavor.

In general, the Process Improvement Organization provides the framework for the construction and maintenance of an organization’s business process landscape and the execution of major Process Improvement projectsOpens in new window. It is recommended that all Process Improvement activities be coordinated through this department to ensure the stability and sustainability of organizational processesOpens in new window.

Responsibilities of a Process Improvement Organization

The Process Improvement Organization has many responsibilities including capturing and documenting processes, managing and facilitating workshops, gathering performance data for management review, capturing improvement requests, and keeping an up-to-date repository of all processes and related documentationOpens in new window. Other responsibilities include:

  • Identifying and implementing appropriate Process Improvement methodologies, best practices, and standards tailored to a corporation’s needs
  • Developing and managing project checklists, guidelines, templates, and other best practices
  • Managing Process Improvement activities and projects throughout the entire Process Improvement life cycle
  • Managing and facilitating Process Improvement workshops
  • Designing and building business processes and overseeing the enterprise process ecosystem
  • Administering and maintaining organizational process models and repositories
  • Coaching, mentoring, and training business partners and management staff
  • Ensuring alignment of process improvements with strategic business goals and priorities
  • Monitoring performance of processes for opportunities of improvement and areas of risk

Benefits of a Process Improvement Organization

There are many benefits to establishing an effective Process Improvement Organization including:

  • Increased efficiency when delivering improvements: Methods used by Process Improvement Organizations provide a roadmap that is easily followed and help guide stakeholders to project completion.
  • Heightened customer satisfaction: Formal Process Improvement efforts that are completed to satisfaction, that are kept to a defined schedule, and that deliver valuable results increase customer satisfaction.
  • Service Predictability: Improvement efforts managed out of a central organization provide predictable service and bring a sense of comfort to customers.
  • Increased Process focus: Positive improvement results that are carried out by project teams often inspire functional employees to look for ways to perform activities more efficiently.
  • Increased agility: Strategic planning combined with disciplined Process ImprovementOpens in new window enables flexibility through structured processes that are designed to continually adapt to changing organizational conditions.
  • Broader context: Improvement conducted through a centralized governing body allows all changes to be analyzed for downstream effects or potential business conflicts.
  • Mature service delivery: A structured delivery approach ensures proper standards are in place and provides more mature management of Process Improvement projects.
    Research data for this work have been adapted from the manual:
  1. Tristan Boutros, Tim Purdie. The Process Improvement Handbook: A Blueprint for Managing Change and Increasing Organizational Performance.