Because successful completion of the previous phase (the Implement phase) has allowed your team to realize the modeled process environment through implementing an appropriate project (please read the previous article to learn more), now the team can focus on deploying new process configuration and monitor process performance. This activity refers to the final phase of the business project management cycle – the Monitor phase. This phase is intended for tracking and supporting performance of improved business processes. The ultimate goal of the Monitor phase is to keep the new process environment at an appropriate level of performance while ensuring that every single business process is deployed as desired.
In order to complete the Monitor phase, it is required from your team to carry out two activities, such as:
- Monitor process performance
- Support business processes
Both activities are intended to increase the overall performance of your organization. The activities can be easily managed by team members and controlled by team leaders if simple tasks are used as "building blocks" of the activities. It means every activity needs to be divided into a range of manageable tasks that your team can do step-by-step until the final task is done and the overall activity is completed.
We suggest using VIP Task Manager as a tool to create and manage tasks for the activities of the Monitor phase. Let’s find out what tasks can be planned to carry out the activities and how VIP Task Manager can be helpful for this.
Monitor Process Performance
This activity involves the team in tracking individual performance of business processes as well as overall performance of the new environment. The key idea here is to define performance baseline (an expected level of process performance) and then compare it against actual performance level. If there’s some performance gap or variation, the team needs to find a way for solving the issue.
In order to complete this goal, the team focuses on doing the following tasks:
- Identify boundaries of every business process (where the process begins and ends)
- Develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring actual and expected performance
- Measure actual performance level
- Compare actual performance level with expected one
- Create a solution for removing performance discrepancies (if any)
Along with doing these tasks your team can use testing as a method of measuring and monitoring process performance. For example, the SMART test helps quickly determine the quality of performing a particular process by the following parameters:
- Specific. The process is clearly stated and defined, so the probability of misinterpretation occurrence is minimized.
- Measurable. It can be quantified and compared to other data.
- Attainable. The process is reasonable and credible under preset conditions.
- Realistic. It is cost-effective and fits into your organization's constraints.
- Time-scalable. It is feasible within preset time frames.
Your team can use KPIs and the SMART test as tools to appraise and track process performance. KPIs will be the heart of monitoring procedures to evaluate business processes by cycle time, defect rate and productivity. The SMART test will be a mechanism to verify process appropriateness.
Support Business Processes
The final activity of the Monitor phase is intended to support your new process environment after every business process has been deployed and monitored for performance. Supporting the process environment means examining and auditing new process configuration for possible business and technical issues in order to ensure that the issues are no longer available in the new environment, so your organization is enabled to perform business operations at a higher efficiency level.
In this context, your expert team needs to perform some tasks for auditing and analyzing business process issues. For example, it can focus on managing:
- Scheduled audits and checks of business process performance
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Value-benefit analysis
- Cost trend analysis
- Process failure analysis
- "Planned/actual" comparison
- Expert surveys
The team should also support day-to-day operations (such as accounting, communications, maintenance etc.) in order to ensure that all business processes are carried out efficiently, with a lowered probability of failure. There’s a range of activities the team can perform to create a solid foundation for business process support. Some of those activities are listed below:
- Provide necessary training to employees
- Ensure knowledge transfer through handover sessions
- Establish good communications between workers
- Allow employees to directly report on any issues revealed
- Reduce cycle time through optimizing use of equipment, tools and systems
- Utilize special improvement methodologies (Six Sigma, Lean methodology) to focus on continuous process improvements
- Receive and analyze employee feedback
Using VIP Task Manager
Your team can use Task Tree view in VIP Task Manager to plan and do tasks of the Monitor phase. Below you can see an example of task hierarchy consisting of the two processes of the phase and related tasks.
- Monitor phase
- Monitor process performance
- Define scope of every process
- Identify process boundaries
- Determine process constraints (such as cost, time, resources)
- Make a list of KPIs
- Measure and record actual performance level of every process
- Compare actual and expected performance levels
- List processes having performance discrepancies
- Determine solutions to address performance gaps
- Support business processes
- Dedicate a team for conducting performance audits and checks
- Make an inspection schedule
- Conduct cost-benefit analysis
- Analyze values and benefit of every process
- Conduct cost trend analysis to evaluate future process cost.
- Analyze processes that are failed
- Identify reasons for process failure
- Develop solutions for preventing failure occurrence
- Form a team of experts to conduct process performance surveys
Task Tree view is great for building task hierarchies and project trees. It includes some tools that simplify task management and tracking. For instance, the team can use Filter Bar to monitor tasks by certain attributes or by groups. It can also use Notifications panel to view what updates have been applied to tasks. In Task Tree view there’s also Resource Assignment panel that lets team leaders make multiple assignments in one click.