Process mindset is basically an approach to solve puzzles; it’s talking about flow, which is similar to other methodologies like Theory of Constraints and Value stream mapping from Lean. When you have puzzles similar to below categories, you may ask yourself questions about processes.
To build standardization
It is chaos when no one knows who to talk to for what; build standardized processes can remove the effort to re-invent the wheel and drive the whole team working toward the same direction. What is more important, it allows people to do more value-adding things.
To introduce changes
No matter it is new business model, out-sourcing, new IT system or continuous improvement, a common approach is to understand as-is processes and design to-be. The art here is to what extent we need to map the detailed as-is; because anyway, there will be new things. For new business model or system implementation, to design to-be processes with good understanding of pains and challenges from as-is and then have a fit-gap would be an easier approach to push for big-scale transformation; however, when we are not clear what exactly what kind issues we are having now or what kind of solution can help to solve them, focusing on as-is processes and understand the exact issues – people, process, technology – would be more beneficial to give us direction for the to-be.
To manage the progress of any task or initiative, especially when significant amount of effort and man-hours are concerned
In value stain mapping for manufacturing, process can help us to understand every single step so as to identify opportunities to eliminate waste. However, process is not limited to manufacturing and operation; it can also be used by other domain as well, like R&D.
For R&D in pharmaceutical, the pipeline research can take 8-10 years to reach to the market. To manage the ROI of the whole portfolio, we can divide the pipeline research into different stages, and then govern the gate and manage the success rate for different stages so as to improve the whole yield rate. Another example, for Agriculture industry, we have limited resources for Lab Test and Field Trial; at the same time, we may have continuous incoming flow of test and trial request; how to balance the demand and supply, allocate resources, and monitor progresses can be managed by leverage on processes.