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February 10, 2016

Reviewing Your Business Processes

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by Pete Matassa

process review


Reviewing your business processes does NOT mean, ‘lay people off’ nor is it only appropriate for Fortune 500 size businesses. It is a useful tool for all businesses that want to enhance their competitiveness.

This article discusses strategies for reviewing process and tactics that will facilitate, as well as, increase the probability of success of your review effort.

Process Review Deliverables

Process Review deliverables must be twofold:

1)      Process Improvement
2)      Business Information System Improvement

Process Review

Process review must address the following areas:

1)      Eliminate redundant tasks and positions, with an emphasis on eliminating unnecessary costs and reallocating resources to more productive endeavors
2)      Improving current process efficiencies
3)      Creating processes that enhance organizational efficiencies and competitive strength
4)      Enhancing awareness of the competitive arena
5)      Enhancing strategic focus
6)      Improving organizational maturity
7)      Implementing metrics to track performance
8)      Documenting processes

Business Information System Improvement

Business Information System Improvement must address the following areas:

1)      Evaluate current business reporting and eliminate reports that just provide data
2)      Implement a system of true information reporting
3)      Elimination of redundant reporting
4)      Enhancement of information gathering processes

Process Review Processes

Review – Evaluate – Recommend – Implement

1)      Review of current organization goals
2)      Review of desired future organization goals
3)      Interviewing current management and line employees to determine their perception of organization goals and attitudes toward change
4)      Evaluation of organization culture
5)      Evaluation of organization maturity
6)      Evaluation of current organization processes
7)      Evaluation of organization metrics
8)      Evaluation of organization process documentation
9)      Evaluation of organization competitive strategy and tactics
10)   Recommendations for competitive strategy and tactics improvement
11)   Recommendations for organization maturity progression
12)   Recommendations for specific process changes
13)   Recommendations for improved business information systems
14)   Recommendations for ongoing metrics
15)   Recommendations for initial and ongoing process documentation
16)   Recommendations for culture change process
17)   Plans and timelines for Implementing recommendations

Let’s Have a Meeting… NOT!

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by Pete Matassa

meetingThere’s an old corporate story about how a major manufacturer of computers used to have a device in their conference rooms that kept track of meeting costs. When the meeting attendees entered the room, they would swipe their employee badges and the device would note their salary, then as the meeting was progressing it would display the cost of the meeting by multiplying the aggregate wages of the attendees per minute by the minutes expended in the meeting. The point was to make everyone in the meeting aware of how much the company was investing in the meeting with the hope of motivating them to use the time wisely.

I guess a more effective device would not only track the costs of the meeting, but also the benefits derived from it, then either provide the attendees a bonus or deduct from their wages based on the results of the meeting.

This may sound harsh, but frankly anyone who has spent any time in a major corporation, heck even a not so major corporation, has been subjected to numerous meeting that not only didn’t contribute to the organization’s success but actually detracted from it by wasting valuable resources that could have been effectively deployed elsewhere. Maybe I’m just a cynic, well quite possibly, but I get the distinct impression there are ‘professional meeting attendees’ out there who view their job as going to meetings and don’t really care if anything is accomplished – as long as they are in a meeting they believe they are being productive.

So am I saying there should never be a meeting? No, I am saying that the need for a meeting should be scrutinized, and that if a meeting is called it should be designed to accomplish something.

When is a Meeting Necessary?

Some legitimate reasons for meetings are:

1) No one person has enough of the facts needed to make a reasonable business decision

2) A diverse group is needed to provide various perspectives to a problem solution

3) A team needs to be briefed so that all are on the same page

4) Buy in is needed from a number of separate organizational entities for a project to be successful

5) A major change in an organization is to be announced

6) The members of an organization/team need the status of a project

There are more but the point is that before a meeting is called, there should be some thought given as to whether or not a memo, E-Mail, blog update, or some other form of communication would be just as effective for communicating the message.

OK, so We Have to Meet, How Can We Make the Most of the Meeting?

If you must meet there are structures that enhance the possibility of the meeting being productive. Using the following conventions can have a positive effect on meeting outcomes:

1 ) Send an agenda out in advance of the meeting

2 ) Let attendees know if there are any readings required prior to the meeting so that everyone arrives prepared to be productive

3 ) Let attendees know if they are expected to present a report to the meeting prior to the meeting, or better still ask them to send you a copy of the report prior to the meeting

4 ) Ensure that people have actually fulfilled the commitments noted in 2 and 3

5 ) Ensure that the meeting starts and ends on time, do not wait for late arrivals

6 ) Let attendees know how much time they will be given to express their opinions and have a time keeper enforce the speaking limits

7 ) Assign a facilitator to ensure the meeting stays on track

8 ) Assign deliverable to individuals, not to the group, and follow-up on deliverable progress

9 ) Send out minutes within 3 business days of the meeting so that all know what was agreed to

10 ) Ask attendees to write down any criticisms or suggestions for improving future meetings as the last item on the agenda

In closing, when in doubt, don’t have the meeting, however if you need a meeting make it productive!