The APQC Blog

Why Process Frameworks are like Genies in a Bottle

Process frameworks allow organizations to group their business processes into systematized categories and a common language so that they can benchmark and ultimately improve the work that is performed. This sounds kind of magical, eh? Who would say no to improving the quality, speed, and cost-effectiveness of work? But, getting your wishes from a process framework is easier said than done. Process frameworks can work like magic, but you’ll have to get the genie out of the bottle first.

APQC’s annual Process and Performance Management Challenges and Priorities Survey reveals the challenges organizations commonly face with process frameworks.

Most respondents struggled with implementation, so here are three steps to implement a framework successfully.

1. Align performance measures to framework processes.

First, pick a framework that aligns to your strategic goals. In the beginning stages of picking a framework, a few factors to examine include:

  • Is the framework industry or function specific?
  • Does the framework include methods for traceability?
  • And lastly, does the framework include definitions or KPIs for the processes and activities at my organization?

Once these factors are considered, aligning performance measures to framework processes will be less like a nightmare and more like a fairy tale.

2. Understand how to adapt a framework to meet organizational needs.

This step relates to the first, because understanding how to adapt a framework is crucial if an organization wants to align performance measures to the framework correctly. 

You’ll need to evaluate three things:

  • why a framework is needed,
  • how it supports strategic goals, and
  • the current state.

Once you choose a framework, the next step is to customize it by identifying the processes that aren’t a best fit for your organization. This is where you can modify, eliminate, add process elements, or even establish assessment criteria to help determine which relevant processes need modifications.

3. Leverage the framework to build process models or maps.

Process maps are key to understanding your current state for process improvement, and the goal is to improve or to learn better ways of doing things. So, what is needed to create process maps from a framework? Well, process mapping begins with judgment calls on where to start and how to determine the relevancy of processes.

Luckily, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. APQC’s Process Classification Framework (PCF)® can be used to reference a list of processes to consider while mapping. The PCF provides a consistent language to bring all models together, and that language maps directly to the way that work is performed within organizations—having a centralized model such as the PCF helps to rationalize the impact of development or change across models. It’s like magic!

These three steps will lay the groundwork so that the framework, I mean, the genie will be able to grant your process improvement wishes.

Has your organization implemented a process framework?

We want to learn more about how your organization uses process frameworks and the challenges associated. Please take five minutes to share your thoughts and experiences on process framework implementation, benefits, and maturity by May 29th. As a thank you for your support and insights, you will get a copy of the survey summary.