The APQC Blog

How Process Management Helped Lead in the Year of COVID

How Process Management Helped Lead in the Year of COVID

As we launched into 2020, things were looking up. PPM professionals were embracing end-to-end processes, we had identified measurement challenges at the core of technology and analytics problems. Even more impressive was that most programs were driven by the responsibility of supporting the strategic goals of the organization. 

Then, in March, the pandemic hit. Which turned all our plans upside down. 

Organizations had to quickly adjust to find new ways to work, staff shifted to the unknowns of work from home, and priorities and strategies were overhauled. 

However, no tragedy occurs without a silver lining. Process teams were poised to help their organizations adapt and ensure business continuity. In fact, over 61% of the participants in our April webinar stated that their process teams were actively supporting their organizations’ business continuity. Teams were tapped to: 

  • triage the organization’s processes,
  • re-engineer broken processes, and
  • leverage technology to execute work in a digital environment. 

None of this has been easy. Teams had to recalibrate their priorities, do more with less, and find ways to get the bandwidth of already stressed employees. However, process professionals are tenacious and found innovative ways to continue to support their organizations; ranging from adopting virtual whiteboards to skill-based redeployment. 

Some of the relevant research this year on process, resiliency, and change includes:

One of the biggest struggles for teams this year is the adaptation to a virtual environment. Process work is at its core about facilitation and collaborating with people in the business to take often abstract concepts and convert them into a physical representation. All of which relies on relationship building, reading people, and diplomacy; made even more difficult in a virtual environment.

We faced a similar struggle for our annual conference and had to adjust—rework our processes and delivery channels for a virtual summit. Though virtual was initially daunting and required a lot of work the results were, well, fun. Even in the face of new circumstances the process community banded together, shared, and learned from one another’s experiences.

But as the year started to wrap up, we wanted to refocus on our core, process teams and how they continue to drive value in their organizations. What we discovered is that even in the face of setbacks process teams continue to thrive, explore opportunities to collaborate with our partners in other functions like data and knowledge, and that most programs continue to be driven by the responsibility of supporting the strategic goals of the organization. 

Some of the relevant research from this year includes:

Thank you all for sharing your stories, time, and insights as we have navigated 2020. I look forward to the things we will accomplish together in 2021.

As we prepare for a fresh start in 2021….

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For more process and performance management research and insights, follow me on twitter at @hlykehogland or connect with me on LinkedIn.