I have talked about some ways to improve processes, but what is a process? Maybe I should not have waited all of the way until my fourth post to define it.
At the brisk of sounding extremely boring, let’s talk about your commute. You leave your dwelling; get in your car, on your bike, catch a bus, or hop on the subway; and at some point, walk into your place of business. That is a process. A process is any multi step series of activities that accomplishes a goal. And just like we walked through the commute, we can walk through a process to find ways to improve it. We can take it apart to see which steps can and should be changed.
There are two key measurements to a process. The first is time. How long does it take to complete? The second is accuracy. How often does everything to right? In the commute example you have probably optimized time as much as possible. After all I don’t know anyone who likes extending their drive to work. You have probably also optimized accuracy as much as possible. For instance your car is in as good of working order as you can keep it. You do not make wrong turns. You know where to park. If you are taking public transportation, you know the route and schedule. You would not appreciate it if suddenly the schedule is off by 20 minutes or if all of the routes changed regularly.
There are 100 examples of processes you do every day. Including your commute, you shower and get dressed, you make the bed, you get your kids ready for school, you take care of any animals you have, the list goes on and on. When you combine multiple processes like that together, you get, that’s right, a process. A longer, more complicated process, with additional places for things to go wrong, but still a process. The same is true at work, but I am not going to use work examples, because if you didn’t fall asleep during the commute example, I don’t want to take a chance of put you into a coma.
If you break apart the steps in any process that seems to be inefficient to you with the Five Whys from the last post, you will find yourself suddenly having a bit more time or less stress.
Unless it involves your kids. Then, you just have to wait until they move out.