How to Design a Business Process


What is business process design?

Business process design is a method used to create a new workflow from scratch. New organizations engage in business process design when they start thinking about the ways that they will produce and deliver their products and services. Organizations also engage in business process design when they implement entirely new processes or redesign existing ones.

Organizations may do this implicitly or take a more formal and organized approach. An implicit approach to business process design can be as simple as visualizing a goal and taking steps to achieve that goal. This approach, however, is not as efficient as a deliberate and well-thought approach to business process design.

Effective business processes must be scalable and capable of being replicated. If an organization lacks structured processes, workers will resort to routine actions based on their experience in a given industry. This will lead to inconsistency and inefficiencies, or worse.

Business process design steps

Business process design consists of the following 4 steps:

  • Identifying and defining the problem
  • Identifying inputs, outputs, parties, and procedures
  • Mapping out the process
  • Testing the process

Designing a business process

Designing an effective business process requires a methodical approach that progresses through each of the 4 steps listed above. This process, however, can be made more efficient using business process software that enables simplicity in business process design.

Identifying and defining the problem

This first step involves specifying the motivations and reasons for designing a business process. This can be a relatively simple task or far more involved depending on your circumstances and the nature of your organization. For instance, a new organization may need to develop a new onboarding system where none existed previously. Another organization may need to design new processes to accommodate growth or a new product or service. Prior to going any further, consider whether the process will add value and how it will benefit the organization.

Identifying inputs, outputs, parties, and procedures

Outputs are directly related to the problem that you identified in the prior step. There, you identified a need and have an idea what the end result should be. At this point, start gathering information. Identify stakeholders that are familiar with the process or will be involved in the process after it has been implemented. Involve them in brainstorming sessions. Communicate face to face to maximize the exchange of information.

Identify what resources are needed to produce your outputs. Start thinking about the procedures that you will use to get you there. List all your inputs, outputs, and procedures separately so you can easily refer to them when creating your process map.

Mapping out the process

A process map is a planning tool used to visually depict the flow of work when designing a business process. Process maps can take many different forms. They can be as simple as an infographic or flowchart. Process maps have the benefits of improving visibility and can be seamlessly integrated into an organization’s existing technology systems.

While all process maps are different and vary with the complexity of a process, there are several key elements that every map should have. These include:

  • Actions
  • Decision points
  • Inputs and outputs
  • Functions
  • Stakeholders involved
  • Process measurements
  • Time required

You can create a process map manually or using BPM software. Meanwhile drawing out your map, ensure that each step makes sense to the user. The steps should be written in plain English using basic terminology and should be easy to read. Make sure that you map is inclusive of all inputs, outputs, parties, and procedures identified in the second step.

Business process software can save you a lot of time and effort here. Simply drag and drop tasks on an easy to use dashboard.

See how easy it is to design a business process in ProcessMaker.

Testing the process

It is important to thoroughly test new processes prior to implementing them into your operations. There are many ways to go about testing your business process design. One way is to run smaller aspects of the process and expand outward from there.  Likewise, another effective approach is to sabotage specific processes until they fail. You can then look at where the process failed and examine why it broke down.

Use the information that you learn from your tests to make changes. Test the process again. Continue with this process until you are satisfied that your processes will stand up to real world challenges. Many organizations make the mistake of implementing their business process designs without conducting any tests only to witness them fail and disrupt their operations.

About ProcessMaker

ProcessMaker is a low-code business process software that enables simplicity in business process design. Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina in the United States, ProcessMaker has a partner network spread across 35 countries on five continents. Hundreds of commercial customers, including many Fortune 100 companies, rely on ProcessMaker to digitally transform their core business processes enabling faster decision making, improved compliance, and better performance.

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