Chapter 9
Tools for Business 
Process Improvement
Just as the carpenter has tools for his trade, so too must the business process
improvement (BPI) teams. is chapter equips the teams with the necessary
tools from start to nish for a successful BPI project. e tools for the proj-
ect presented here include a project plan, risk and opportunity register, lessons-
learned register, and documentation discipline.
Each of us has worked on projectsorganized a party, built a house, planned
and taken a vacation, and many others. We may not have labeled them as proj-
ects, but any set of activities that involves planning, sequencing, coordinating,
budgeting, and consuming resources to achieve a preset outcome (ie, a deliver-
able) in a stated time frame is actually a project.
Evaluations generate lessons learned for future project plans and their execu-
tion. In hindsight, we can give a general evaluation of the success or failure of
the project or a detailed examination of the various aspects of the project. e
project was late (time), there were cost overruns (budget), and the results were
not as planned (outcome).
Before embarking on the BPI project, it is worthwhile to review past experi-
ences and establish what did and did not work. ese lessons will be reected in
the project plan to increase its likelihood of success.
84 ◾  Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual
Project Issues
Answer the questions 1 to 6 and complete the sentences 7 to 16. Next, or con-
currently, compile a list of answers for lessons learned shown in Table9.1.
1. ink of a project that you worked on in the past and identify it.
2. What was the desired outcome?
3. What were the resources at hand?
4. What was the specied time frame for completion?
5. Who was in charge of the project and what did they do?
6. Was the desired outcome achieved: time frame, outcome, resource
7. e challenges for the project were …
8. e challenges existed …
9. e challenges were overcome …
10. e things that worked for the project …
11. ese things worked …
12. Every project should always …
13. e project leaders should always …
14. e project team should always …
15. e next project I work on I will …
16. e next project I work on I will not …
After the team discussion, aggregate the ndings and complete Table9.1.
Table9.1  Lessons Learned
Items Findings
Role of the team leader
Common challenges
Reasons challenges existed
Actions taken to overcome
Actions that worked
Reasons actions worked
Every project should always
Project leaders should always
Project team should always
I will
I will not
Tools for Business Process Improvement ◾  85
Project management professionals cite the prevailing reasons for project failure:
Ill- dened scopeat least one of the projects was not well dened. is
cause of failure includes scope creep and uncontrolled changes in the scope
or requirements of the project.
Lack of engagement by human resourcesstamembers are usually left
to sustain and maintainproject outcomes.A project may be successful in
the short- term, but without executive buy- in and commitment, the posi-
tive results may diminish over time. e staresponsible for owning the
process needs to be engaged at the onset of the project.
Lack of planning—projects involve the coordination and sequencing of
activities. e planning process becomes critical for activities that are depen-
dent on the completion of other activities. Consider a thorough planning
eort to build the project plan before moving on to analysis orsolving.
Lack of senior management commitmentsenior management sanctions
the project and will release the human resources and budget for the proj-
ect. If they are not involved, then the project is likely doomed.
Underresourced—reected by inadequate time allocated to planning activ-
ities, inaccurate budgets, or insucient resources required by the project.
Project Tools
e unspoken remit of every project is to maximize the use of assigned resources
and ensure a commonly desired outcome. Four important tools need to be
used and maintained throughout the life of the BPI project to increase the like-
lihood of success:
1. Project plan
2. Risk and opportunity register
3. Lessons learned register
4. Documentation plan
Project Plan
e project plan captures the planned use of resources to complete a thorough
planning eort and comprises at least four elements:
1. Project team
2. Team charter
3. Project budget
4. Project timetable

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