In my Process consulting experience of 7 years to a Customer, who is one among the Top 15 most respected companies in the world, I learnt a few things about what a Customer expects a Process to do or not to do. Will try to share some of that learnings here.
Your Family & Friends are giving you a birthday party about which you were not aware. Guess what they will yell, once you open the door, “Surprise!!”. Well, that is the word a customer does not want to hear from a process.
Case A: A process is well stabilized and works so smoothly that the customer ignores all the notifications he gets from that system. They all will be redirected ‘somewhere’ by a rule. Here the customer totally knows what is happening in the process.
Case B: A process which has lot of problems. Nothing works perfectly. Here also the customer ignores all the notifications, because there is no point in checking those.
Interestingly, I was supporting both these type of processes at one time. But the question is when will he become surprised? When the quality of process in Case A goes bad. Right? So, no Surprise!
Transparency is another key word. Whether it is a complex system or a simpler workflow, the customer would want to see the transperant process. No hidden algorithms / calculations which will give him surprise later on. So everything needs to be clear, documented procedures which leads to the next expectation, that is KISS : keep it short and simple.
In my projects, whether it is a new electronic document or a workflow screen, I had to give explanation for each and every field, each and every click, to make the customer understand that nothing is extra there and it could not be simplified further. SubRule for this requirement is that there should not be repetitive work or task in the process.
OK. Now the process is created, no surprise there, its transperant, simple and stabilized over a period of time. Is that it? No. they would like to have Value additions out of it.
That means enhancements / simplifications. What can be done better? How to improve the process? Can we integrate this with some other process / system? Here comes the metrics/measures, surveys/feedback from the users etc. through which the issues in the processes are found, analyzed and improved. This will be an ongoing project for the process team.
Let me finish with a quote once told by my Client: “I will be doing my business activity in a normal manner. Your Process should run in the background and help me do my work effectively. Dont ask me to do anything extra for the sake of Process”.
Sathya Narayanan T. V.
Sathya Narayanan T.V. is a Quality Assurance expert specializing in CMMi, Six Sigma & ISO 9000 standards. Working for a Software organization, he has lent his process consulting services to GE Capital, USA for the past seven years.