Process Size – It’s all about Management Capacity

Back in February 2011, Peter Schooff of asked a very important question, “How big is a process?” The very insightful comments that answer the question bring forth many interesting perspectives on the size of a process. Ranging from the length of a string to single “value chain” process, the debate is very enlightening.

However, outside these very pertinent arguments, I strongly believe the size of a process is all about management capacity. A “process” must be measureable and manageable. And it is best managed under a single process owner, ideally a CxO, allowing clear decision making to govern the process.

Many a time, in a desire to have an end-to-end view, organizations tend to meander towards large, complicated and sometimes complex processes. Cutting across the authority lines among different CxO’s, the process tends to become a broth with many cooks. I guess we all know what happens when many cooks come together for a single broth.

This also means that apart from the process diagram, no human element is able to comprehend or re-collect the process. It also results in loss of memory of the reasons the process has taken to become the maze it has turned out to be. At a time of change, intensive efforts are required to evaluate the process and more often than not this leads to process-fatigue.

So what is Management Capacity?

Management Capacity is the capacity, within which a CxO sets strategies, ensures execution, monitors performance and achieves objectives under the boundaries set by the demands of their function and corporate governance.

Obviously, to attain this we need to achieve the below:

  1. Each process must be manageable under a Single CxO Process Owner
  2. Each Process and its sub-processes must link to Enterprise KPIs under the respective CxO

In cases, where it is identified that a process spreads across more than one CxO, it is best to break it down and the process architecture changed to meet the above. The same principle applies when you go down to department level under a CxO.

An intangible element that also plays a key role is the CxO’s capability and ability to manage well. But, as we all know, good management is a pre-requisite to any good process to perform well.

So, if you want to get your processes performing, ensure they are defined and assigned under the right authority with the capacity to manage them.
Courtesy to Sanooj Kutty. This blog was originally published on The Information Manager.

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By Sanooj Kutty @ The Information Manager | June 6, 2012

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