Have you ever asked a client how a certain business process works only to receive a blank stare? This is actually very common. In fact, it’s tough to explain a series of tasks without projecting them on the wall and visualizing the process. By doing so, everyone in the room gets a clearer picture of how it all works and can ask important questions regarding the method. In the following paragraphs, I will explain a few steps taken by netlogx to ensure our mapping brings real value to the client.
At netlogx, we begin our understanding by mapping the As-Is process, or current state. This part of the effort is critical because the client explains how processes are currently completed and notes any performance problems.
Some clients provide background documentation to aid our initial understanding of their processes, but more often the netlogx team starts from scratch. When the mapping begins, we simultaneously document issues, requirements, and any other feedback regarding the process to help aid the improvements later.
Once we finalize the As-Is mapping, we map the To-Be or future state. I especially enjoy this because you can help alleviate pain points and optimize efficiency. You would be surprised by the number of smiles in the room after removing four to five unnecessary steps from someone’s workload.
It’s important to consistently reference all the issues and requirements captured during the As-Is mapping to keep improvement at the top of the priority list. As a part of the mapping, we highlight all these right on the maps with yellow stars we call “splats.” The splats are then transferred into the issues/requirements log for the client to easily manage.
When the To-Be mapping is complete we finalize all our deliverables for the next step. Generally, we submit the As-Is and To-Be maps, final notes, and the final issues and requirements log. These documents equip the client with the ammunition to take into Joint Application Design (JAD) sessions and to present to technical staff. Ultimately, it explains the business’ change requests and allows everyone to visualize the changes.
During one of the first projects I was assigned to, which is still the largest I’ve worked on, there were a lot of unknowns and concerns about roles and responsibilities changing. As we documented the As-Is processes, we found a lot of duplicative effort and inefficiencies, mostly due to legacy system limitations.
When the To-Be mapping began, the energy changed. Everyone began to conceptualize how we could strengthen the processes and design them to their advantage. This was followed by a lot of input and some great ideas for improvement. Some of the tasks that nobody enjoyed were suddenly alleviated, and everyone agreed how the work should be completed moving forward. That’s what it’s all about.
It can be a challenge getting everyone to buy in. From my experience, there can be resistance throughout the As-Is mapping process because all the pain is brought to the forefront and put under a microscope. Although painful at times, I have never experienced any lack of progress as a result. We consistently walk away with happy clients and better processes.