The key to your first successful change initiative is picking the right process to target for improvement. Although you probably witness an abundance of everyday inefficiencies in your job, you want to start by selecting a process that will allow you to celebrate a quick win. Choosing a process that is central to driving your business is important, but it does not have to be a large, unwieldy process. Don’t overlook small business processes as they can have a big impact. Look for repeatable projects. When there’s repetition present, there’s always an opportunity to create or improve a formal process around it!
To help you choose the right project for your initiative, here are five telltale signs that a process is ripe for change.
#1 – A Project Lacks Visibility & Transparency
Do you find yourself or your team spending inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out the status of the project? Do you have a maze of steps and gatekeepers to go through to gain valuable insight such as the budget or who’s responsible for what? You are not alone. It can be difficult to attain critical information related to contracts and near impossible to run reports on those contracts. Other examples of a lack of visibility or transparency in a project might involve a team member having to email the whole group to find out where a contract is in its lifecycle, or the budget runs over because the latest budget document wasn’t updated correctly.
#2 – Simple Projects Take Too Long
Do standard contracts, such as NDAs, take days rather than hours or minutes to complete? When simple contract workflows get mired in administrative pileups, this can cause larger project delays or prevent projects from getting off the ground in the first place. In many organizations, it takes more than two days to execute a standard NDA. Wrangling the various interested parties can be a struggle, with many teams involving 5 or more people in the administration of a typical contract.
#3 – Project Inefficiencies Cause Missed Deadlines or Opportunities
Another key trait of an ineffective process is that teams miss deadlines, or can’t capitalize on quick-turnaround opportunities. It could be simply not receiving client feedback in a timely manner in order to respond and turn an adverse situation into a sales opportunity. Alternatively, perhaps your marketing team is unable to capitalize on a key promotion opportunity because it cannot wrangle outside vendors in time. It could mean that the lack of a defined set of steps necessitates that your sales team has to “go with their gut,” leaving valuable revenue on the table. Either through a lack of visible information or intelligence or delays caused by inefficiencies, teams that cannot execute deliverables to their full potential are in need of business process improvements.
#4 – Critical Project Paperwork Goes MIA
Contract administration is a crucial function, but the storage and retrieval piece is often neglected. It does not become a problem, until the unthinkable happens – an NDA cannot be located and produced to diffuse a precarious situation. This leaves your company vulnerable. For many companies, contracts are left to languish on a shared drive buried in a labyrinth folder system. At the opposite end of this spectrum, companies might have more than one contract repository (some with over 10+!) making it very challenging to find an executed contract on demand. With these situations, it is a wonder that anyone can find an executed contract when they need it!
#5 – Spreadsheets are Still Your Go-To Project Tracking Method
If your tracking system is a series of spreadsheets with various users contributing or accessing pertinent information, your project is ripe for an overhaul. No matter how sophisticated the pivot table, or how interactive your Google doc seems, spreadsheets do not give you a real-time, all-encompassing view of the project and its status. Because spreadsheets are dependent on the users adding information, your project tracking is only as organized and accurate as your team members. Teams consist of humans, and humans make mistakes. Why leave that up to chance when there is a better way to track projects and deliverables?
Inspired to improve a process that suffers from one or more of these qualities? Onit can help you be a change agent for your organization. Download our whitepaper, Your First Enterprise App: 6 Ways to Successfully Implement Change in Your Company.