Management and planning decisions should always be based on factual evidence rather than speculation or assumptions. When factual evidence is available to support a business case, all stakeholders have more confidence in your team's decisions. And decisions can be made faster, with more accuracy.
So why is it that executives often make their decisions based on "experience" and "gut-feel"?
It's often easier to trust a colleague's experience of a new technology or the evidence about a new management technique shared at an executive seminar than it is to sift through mountains of marginally-useful information.
More strategic decisions are made on the golf course than in the board room because when the data isn't there, the decisions still must be made.
A good management system has the right information available whenever it's needed. Management needs more than just financial data to manage effectively. You also should expect to have:
- observable, traceable, and trackable operational metrics, enabling you to tell customers how you're progressing
- data that can be used as a direct input into Executive Management's strategic planning process
- an ability to predict with reasonable accuracy the level of quality and success that can be expected in future projects
- evidence that demonstrates achievement of your performance objectives, including schedule, costs, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
What happens when processes break down
For any system to work effectively, information flow must progress along the right paths of the organization's processes, with no disconnects on its way to reaching its planned destination. If there's a course deviation, contingency is planned. Faulty information, whether inaccurate or channelled off course and not available when needed, becomes unreliable . When decisions are made based on unreliable information, the consequences cascade throughout the organization until ultimately, the system fails.
Large multinational corporations often believe they are immune from such catastrophes, but the reality is that they often just have more resources with which to fix their problems. But when they do go down, it's usually in a big way.
While larger organizations may not suffer as many visible incapacities as smaller organizations, they do just as much of a disservice to their shareholders, customers, and employees through the sheer volume of rework and waste that results from defective information.
Visibility & Discipline
To improve the management quality of an organization, and its flow of information, consistent and clear oversight is required. Visibility is mandatory and its achievement is in direct proportion to the degree of discipline exercised within the organization.
The first step to achieving this visibility is through an audit or assessment that exposes the problem areas. Only by determining the degree of the organization's conformance to its own policies and processes, as well as its current and potential capability, can effective remedies be applied. This initial baseline provides a benchmark against which all improvement activities are measured, with ongoing surveillance assessments measuring progress.
The real objective of process management is to enable everyone in the organization to work toward and achieve the same goals. Audits and assessments help you do that by:
- measuring your organizational performance, from the product's cradle to grave from the perspective of the customer:
Result : an objective, quantitative benchmark that identifies organizational and operational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
- providing an insight into and oversight over the organization's inner workings
Result: to clearly and accurately have the right decision-making information to detect and fix:
- broken processes - so they can be reintegrated into the process flow
- mistaken assumptions - to ensure accuracy and prevent mistakes
- miscommunicated or outdated objectives - to help you achieve the right goals
- lack of understanding of policy, process, or strategy - to educate
- lack of direction - to guide ensuring the right path is taken
- high defect density ratios - to reduce rework, costs, and schedules
- lack of efficiency - to reduce rework and improve productivity
- low productivity rates - as a result of inefficient or broken processes or lack of training or direction
- high maintenance and support costs - as a result of too few peer reviews and development controls
- too many shortcuts - as a result of lack of process definition, discipline, or communication
- costs overruns - to increase your bottom-line profits.
- exposing the faults and analysing their root cause
Result: establishing the priorities for improvement, assigning appropriate resource, developing tracking mechanisms, and establishing measurable improvement goals
providing a reliable and repeatable quantitative measurement of the organization's maturity and capability
Result: plans reliably implemented, providing assurance of your commitment to the needs of your current and prospective customers.
...in short - all of the aspects of processes that are people-driven, and thus prone to error.
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