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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Business Process Improvement and the Project Manager

Project managers need to ensure that customer's are satisfied with a project's deliverables.  Part of this process is ensuring that the customer's business processes are optimized.  You can't provide the best possible project results if your customer's processes aren't efficient.  Improving processes is about improving quality while reducing costs and waste. 

Processes need measures.  If you don't have measures then your processes aren't worth the paper they are printed on.  Processes have to meet the needs of the organization, business unit that executes them, and the customer's requirements.  Measures also help to identify and solve process problems, and help to ensure they are meeting the customer's requirements. 

When it comes to process improvement, a good project manager understands:

How to develop team skills

How to break down work into processes

How to solve problems and to find the root cause of  the problems

How to recommend solutions to problems that are acceptable to the majority

How to lead a team and when to let the team lead

Measure the effectiveness of a process by:

Looking at the cycle times between process steps

Identifying bottlenecks that cause unnecessary delays

Identify problems that cause defects to occur

In order to help develop good business processes, a project manager must have the knowledge, skills, and experience to ensure that the right people are doing the right things at the right time, using the right tools and delivering the results that are expected.

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