Implementing New Business Processes: Setting up Road Signs

Implementing New Business Processes: Setting up Road Signs

Okay so you’ve documented the as-is process, you’ve determined your pain points, you’ve engaged all your downstream and upstream partners, and you have a brand new agreed-upon process ready to launch.

You train all your staff. You modify forms and systems You give everyone a map of the new process. Set a date to switch to the new process and we’re a go!

detour sign

The first couple of days go well, but after a week, you notice things are getting dropped, other things are getting mis-routed to the old process and after a while the process is not being followed at all.

What happened?

Commonly, our instinct is to say, “There wasn’t enough training! Let’s retrain!” But training everyone the first time around required training rooms and complicated scheduling and while you wait for retraining, more and more errors are happening requiring rework.

There are actually some other options along with retraining to keep your process on track.

Think about when there’s road construction and a detour is required. First there’s a sign informing drivers of the change, then there are orange cones preventing people from traveling the old road with a sign with directions to the new route, then at every turn for the detour there are bright orange signs indicating the new path, or there might be someone redirecting traffic.

When implementing a process change, think about driving the process from the view of a driver traveling to a familiar place with road construction. Even if they’ve reviewed the directions and felt they knew how to get there, once they’re on the road, everything seems really different and if the speed of traffic is really fast (much faster than in training) it’s easy to miss the turn signs.

How to keep your process on track

 

  • Slow the flow – If possible, when launching try to slow the workflow so people get the hang of it in a real world situation and can catch errors. As people get used to it, then increase the workflow until you’re at normal speed.
  • Traffic monitors – When launching, have people monitor the flow over time. Does it go down over time, which means people are getting the hang of it, or is it getting worse?
  • Missed turns – Identify the common points where the process is breaking. How many times is it breaking here? How often is it breaking? Is it a critical breaking point? Did we block off the old route? Are the signs not big enough?
    detour map
    Planning out detour signals to help prepare travelers for the change
  • Re-route – Can we get them back on track from where they are or do they have to go back to the beginning? When people do get off track, how do we get them back on track? Recovery to the process is an important yet oft overlooked part of a new process. People get lost – who can they turn to for help? Are there ways to make corrections without stopping the process completely?
  • Set up traffic guards – Their job is to watch the workflow, direct traffic, and help drivers who are lost. You may need to have traffic guards for both customers and staff.