August 08, 2021
4 min.
Insights

Process Councils: how to align Process Governance with business objectives

Context 

Let’s imagine a restaurant in which the cooks don’t follow any recipes. Would you eat there? 

Processes (or cooking recipes for restaurants) are critical elements of organizations. They define how value is created, transcending departments’ boundaries. Thus, their Governance should be robust to guarantee efficient operations, but still flexible enough to enable rapid changes when needed.

In a rapidly evolving world, organizations need efficient Process Governance to keep up the pace with markets’ changes and avoid unforeseen negative impacts.

Process Governance: what is it?

Process Governance is a set of rules and techniques that organizations use to manage their processes. It ensures processes reflect the reality of operations and that their design maximizes organizations’ effectiveness

Though, Process Governance is sometimes too much focused on process up-to-dateness and can end up as a reactive control of documentations. In a perfect world, it however promotes discussions among stakeholders to pursue global business objectives.

To ensure the latter, one of the best tools I found is Process Councils. Now, I even consider recurring meetings as a central piece of Process Governance!

Process Council: how does it align Process Governance with business objectives?  

Changes imposed by Governance should optimize the entire end-to-end process, not only the work of one team regardless of the impacts they have on other teams. 

The Process Council is the perfect place for different teams and departments to meet and align. Stakeholders take this time to have their voice heard regarding changes and impacts of cross-department processes. 

The backbone of a Process Council is a team of Process OwnersBusiness Owners and Subject Matter Experts, alongside with other relevant members. Its exact composition will, however, differ over time and from one organization to another. 

Thanks to Process Councils, stakeholders make sure changes in processes are aligned with business needs and take relevant decisions with that north star in mind. 

Which organization might benefit of Process Council and what kind of problem it could solve? 

The Process Council benefits all companies using process modelling. It ensures their processes are updated in time and fit the field reality. Most importantly, it makes sure that they are designed to optimize the global utility of the organization. 

This method will even have a bigger impact on organization with strong silos, where communication and visibility across teams and departments is poor. In fact, it allows those different stakeholders to discuss about potential synergies and global impacts of the processes. 

Best practices & key takeaways 

Setting up a living committee with stakeholders of different backgrounds and origins might create tensions! Discussing processes without all relevant stakeholders, however, might be useless or create frustration among the uninvited. 

In order to keep pace with our ever-changing world, make sure to properly define the council scope and avoid long discussions about the processes during the Process Council. If meeting participants did not properly investigate a perspective, define a task force that will work on it and present the solution at the next meeting. 

Allow time for each participant to properly review the processes and evaluate the impacts before the meeting. The last thing you need is unprepared participants that will either block the validation because they are unsure about the impacts or validate changes without perceiving the negatives impacts. 

Make sure that every participant knows why he or she is here and is aligned with the objectives. If participants lose interest, the Process Council might quickly become another boring and useless meeting. Always ask yourself if the elements discussed are relevant and avoid useless complexity. 

In summary: 

  • Make sure to have the right persons at the table 
  • Clearly define the scope of the Process Council 
  • Announce which processes will be reviewed 
  • Get the buy-in of all participants 

Each organization is unique. The application of Process Governance and Process Councils will slightly differ in each organization. Remember to avoid complexity, remain positive, focus on frictions and process anomalies.