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Michelle LaBrosse

Management

Using Project Management to Improve Process Management

Projects go more smoothly if you have a consistent process for doing them

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:01

It is common knowledge in the project management field that process management helps with project management; projects go much more smoothly and efficiently if you have a consistent process for doing them. It’s the same in every other area of your company where you do repetitive work—you need robust, transparent, and consistent processes. All companies have processes and projects: Processes are for managing the work you do day in and day out, and projects are for your one-time efforts.

You need to have a consistent process for doing your projects, and creating and updating the processes used to run the business is itself a project. A “project,” as defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI), “is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. And a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal.” (PMI 2017).

Projects are what you do when things are changing in order to meet the requirements of the change. Designing or updating the processes that run the business so they are testable, reliable, robust, and transparent is in fact one of the most important projects you can do to have a successful company.

The first step in carrying out the project of establishing process management in your organization is to identify each of your organization’s processes—your everyday operations. At Cheetah Learning, we identified 20 core processes that are the bread-and-butter of our business. They are:
1. Course development
2. Student and instructor kits
3. Course upgrades
4. Train the trainer
5. Emergency response
6. Venue management
7. Registration
8. Web system and upgrades
9. IT Infrastructure support
10. Customer relations
11. Corporate sales
12. Marketing
13. Marketing events
14. Marketing literature
15. Finance
16. Employee management
17. Facilities acquisition
18. Facilities development
19. Asset management
20. Risk management

After identifying our processes, we name the owner of the process; other employees assisting with the process; process documentation; and the levels (high, medium, and low) of automation, performance, and pain (difficulty) of the process. The table below shows how we do this for six of our key processes:

Process

Owner

Assistant

Documented

Automation/Performance/Pain

Venue Management Process

Michelle L

Michelle A, Jean S, Shari M, Paul M

Yes

M/M/M

Facilities & Property Acquisition/ Management

Michelle L & Michele S

Michelle A

No

L/H/L

Facilities Development

Michelle L & Michele S

Michelle A

No

L/M/M

Finance

Michele S

Michelle A

Yes

H/H/L

Registration

Jean

Shari, Kevin

Yes

H/H/L

Employee Management

Michele S

Michelle L & Michelle A

Yes

M/M/L

We update this assessment of our processes every quarter. The people who work in the process are empowered to optimize the processes in order to improve overall performance. Any processes that are creating pain in the organization get on the radar screen for immediate updating. In our decades of doing and teaching project management, we have developed three key principles for the project of improving our processes: Only start one process update at a time, finish it fast, and scale down our process improvement activities so we achieve something of significant improvement in less than two weeks.

To learn more about Cheetah’s online courses in project management and the award-winning Cheetah Exam Prep for the PMP Exam classroom course, visit www.cheetahlearning.com.

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About The Author

Michelle LaBrosse’s picture

Michelle LaBrosse

Michelle LaBrosse is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring project management to the masses. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management program and holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. More than 50,000 people have used Cheetah Learning’s project management and accelerated learning techniques.