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What is process management? 

Process management, also called business process management, is the way in which a company handles all aspects of its processes.  A business process is a set of interrelated tasks that together result in the development of a product or output. Business processes are the heartbeat of its operation and are critical to maintaining operations and profitability. Managing these processes is how a company stays organized, informed, and adaptable. 

How does process management differ from other process actions? 

Process management actually encompasses most other process actions and activities, including process design, process modeling, process analysis, and process improvement. Process management itself helps to improve all of the processes of an organization. It is roughly an umbrella over individual process analysis and monitoring. Process management also keeps all processes in the big picture to see how they interact with each other and if there are potentially redundancies or gaps to fill. 

Process management might require a team approach. (Source)

Process management is becoming increasingly concerned with regulations and compliance. Most organizations have a huge list of rules, laws, and regulations that they have to comply with in order to keep their licenses, tax statuses, and so on. There are a number of programs in existence now that can automate many aspects of compliance management. 

This aspect of process management is undertaken to a much smaller degree by individual process owners during different stages of a process, but process management needs to consider the whole as well as its parts. 

Is process management related to project management? 

It is also important to remember that process management is not the same as project management, although they share many similarities. A project is generally shorter-term and contains many unknown variables. Meanwhile, a process should be well-defined before being implemented. It is part of a larger structure of processes and does not stand on its own. 

Processes and projects do impact each other though, so process management does interact with project management. Processes that are well-managed create a good organizational foundation for projects to be successful. Most organizational projects will need to make use of the company processes, so their efficacy is important. 


Who is responsible for process management? 

Responsibility for process management falls to a few different individuals depending on the organization. Process management is a high-level undertaking that exists in an auditing capacity. Thus, it is not usually assigned to someone closely involved in the processes. 

A degree of objectivity should be retained so that the processes are seen clearly. Often someone is hired directly for this position, or multiple people are hired if it is an ongoing and complicated implementation. 

If the processes to be managed comprise aspects of corporate culture, it may need to involve the human resources department. If the process is more technological, it needs to involve the IT department. 

Who uses process management? 

Process management is about optimizing processes regardless of industry or complexity. Anyone can engage in process management to some degree. In formal business settings, process management will come from a senior-level. It may be carried out by a selected team or assigned to one individual, depending on the amount of work to be done. 

More and more companies are seeing the benefit of process management. Improvements in technology have made it easier than ever to monitor and analyze the efficiency and productivity of established processes. Ultimately this is a great and data-driven way to improve profits with only a small initial investment. 

Automation itself can help improve productivity by reducing human error and hiring costs. Automation can be part of the processes and even part of process management. 

What does process management look like? 

The life-cycle of process management includes the design, modeling, implementation, analysis, and monitoring of processes. These are all individual undertakings in their own right and should be carried out with a great deal of care as part of the overall process management strategy. We will break down each of these stages further below. 

Process design is simply the creation of a new process. This can be based on a recently observed need, changes to the corporate strategy, or something else entirely. For a process manager, new processes must be considered as part of the system to which they belong. Process management is a great way to identify areas where new processes are needed, or where overlapping processes exist. 

Process modeling is a way to help visualize a process. Usually, it involves mapping it out and running different business scenarios through it to check for reliability. A process manager can help ensure that this process is following government or other legal regulations during different scenarios. 

Process implementation is how a process is executed once it has been designed and modeled. This implementation will look different in every setting and depends on a lot on how many people are involved and what impact it has on other processes. This is a very important task for process management, as it runs the risk of upsetting other processes in the organization. 

Process analysis is a way to examine an existing process to find areas for improvement or optimization. This could be a routine analysis conducted to ensure continued compliance and function, or it could be because a problem has been identified at some point in business operations.  

Process analysis is easier when the process design and modeling were conducted and documented thoroughly. Process management will help identify a need for process analysis by monitoring the operations of all processes as a whole. 

Finally, process monitoring should be a built-in task for each process in an organization. Once implemented, a process management system should make sure the process is reviewed on a regular basis to check for errors. 


Process management should utilize and produce a great deal of documentation (Source)

Best practices for process management

In any business, there are some tried and true ways to increase your chances of success. It all begins with taking care of your processes and products. 

  1. Get a wide range of input for process management. Diverse perspectives help empower your team members and find creative solutions to problems. 
  2. Include someone knowledgeable about government regulations and business rules. The larger your business, the more regulations you may be subject to. It would be a shame to inadvertently become uncompliant because of carelessness. Similarly, integrating legal issues into your process management is a great way to prove compliance if ever audited. You will have it all documented already! 
  3. Be as detailed as possible at every stage of process management. The more documentation the better. 
  4. Set up a simple and effective communication strategy so that process owners, project managers, and process management can all communicate easily. 
  5. Complete risk assessments using FMEA templates for each project and process. 
  6. Monitor constantly. Any number of errors can go unnoticed if nobody is looking for them. 

You can tackle business process management on your own, you can hire a dedicated and seasoned professional, or you can utilize software made specifically for this task. Each comes with benefits and drawbacks. 

The best practice for this will really depend on the needs of your specific company. If most of it is automated, such as for an exclusively online business, the software might be helpful and sensible. For a primarily low-tech company, having actual people in charge of process management can add a human touch to the activity and make employees more comfortable. 

Process management involves every stage in the life of a process, from design to monitoring. Process management is an ongoing part of a business structure that should operate behind the scenes to make sure all systems are operating correctly and at maximum efficiency. Process management in a business is all about optimization. The more processes involved, the more this is needed, as it can be hard to self-manage at that level. 

Staying Sustainable With Process Management

By staying on top of and managing various business processes, you are better able to keep up with modern trends and certain directions that your pertained market is heading in. Done with care, business processes can be improved consistently over time to adapt to changing conditions. Business process management templates can be used to help a company shake up the way they are doing things, and start with new methods of operation to help keep up with changing times.

Maintaining a steady focus of managerial oversight is key in staying up to date with fluctuating market and consumer conditions, and keeps employees happy by not having to engage in repetitive work, resulting in increased productivity over time. Staying organized while concurrently trying to revamp a companies means of operations is helped made easier by utilizing a business process reengineering template. 

Revamping a companies fundamental way of thinking with BPR can be a bit risky for some, but nonetheless helps companies stay on top of changes in their pertained field of work. 

Training New Employees With SOPs

As one of the most effective ways to properly plan business processes and their procedures, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) can also be used as a training tool for new and rising employees. A well written, thorough Standard Operating Procedure can serve as both a standard basis of training for new employees working on a new project, and as a way to re-train employees and team members who may have fallen a bit behind on their knowledge of the process. 

As a principle, SOPs should always be written out in a concise manner with detailed instructions for each step of the business process. If the SOP is written in this manner, it can serve as a proper guide for any team member who is in need of catching up on the current pace of the business process at hand. The ability to re-train team members with SOPs also proves to be beneficial by allowing other team members to save time and not have to focus any efforts on re-training the other team member themselves. Managing business processes with SOPs can be done efficiently by utilizing a standard operating procedure template.

Remain Competitive With Business Process Management

By managing ongoing business processes, it will become more clear what aspects of business are more necessary for the company, and which aspects should be more or less invested in. Realizing what is being wasted, and how much time is being wasted on it, will help to manage and streamline the efficiency of business processes much easier. Some common aspects of business that tend to be wasted, or take up too much time, are;

  • Overproduction - Spending a lot of time on the same subjects and seeing no results hurts precious time work time
  • Inventory - An overflow in your inventory stock means that too much money is currently being spend on stock, and draws efforts to it from team members that could have been spent in a more effective way
  • Transportation - Figuring out how to get team members more on pace with one another, and staying on top of each other and helping to get them to work and team meetings on time will help to keep business processes running more efficiently
  • Rework - Spending time re-doing business processes demands time and resources that are better spent on assignments pertained to the business process at hand

With the help of process management templates, staying on top of business procedures and supervising them in a beneficial way becomes much more easy. 

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