As a Six Sigma Black Belt with experience at Boeing, Raytheon, and Honeywell, Paula Berman takes what can often be a complex problem and provides simple solutions to successfully manage business processes. She summarizes the three key concepts in her book Successful Business Process Management as follows:

  1. Processes work best when they’re part of a managed and coherent system. Otherwise, at best you have built an island of sanity in a sea of chaos.
  2. Once you’ve defined and documented a procedure, you aren’t done with it. To make it useful, you need to launch it successfully and then monitor, measure, and improve it on an ongoing basis.
  3. There is no single right way to build a process or process system. Some are simple, and some are elaborate, and there are many ways to structure them. To have one that works for your business, you need to customize it.

Throughout the book, Berman comes back to four rules to keep in mind while documenting system processes so as to stave off the possibility of processes becoming bogged down in red tape or generalities:

Rule S: Keep procedures as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Rule M: Keep the number and length of procedures to a minimum by creating only the procedures that provide value.

Rule C: Don’t make your system too generic. Customize it to your company’s business and culture.

Rule R: Don’t reinvent the wheel. Study common practices in your industry and in similar ones, and reuse whatever ideas will work for you.

The use of numerous real-world examples and sample process maps keeps the book understandable and easy to put into practice. Whether you are a strategy setter, process owner, process improvement project manager, or process end-user, these tips and tricks could be applied to your organization and even to the workflow across your own desk.

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