Scaling Up Excellence, The Toyota Way

Scaling Up Excellence The Toyota WaySo – if Scaling Up Excellence is a manual about how to create a ‘relentless restlessness’ that drives customer-centric innovation, where does that leave The Toyota Way? Do Sutton and Rao’s prescriptions ‘supercede’ The Toyota Way? What does Sutton and Rao’s analysis tell us about the continued validity of what has become effectively the gold standard in operational excellence?

There are clearly differences in scope. The Toyota Way is a complete philosophical system. It is structured, prescriptive and sometimes rigid; but its impact in engaging people, in nurturing their creativity and commitment to deliver continuous customer-centric innovation, has been awesome. Organizations the world over are proudly attempting to replicate it.

Scaling Up Excellence, on the other hand, does not attempt to define any kind of closed-loop system.  It is a distillation of the evidence about how best to promote operational excellence in the real world, shaped into a set of tools, tricks and mantras for ‘fighting the ground war’ that is the pursuit of continuous improvement. And it has a broader canvas too, taking in education, anti-bullying initiatives, creative industries and start-ups, for instance.

But there is a huge overlap. Much of the evidence presented in Scaling Up Excellence can be seen as a ringing endorsement for The Toyota Way. Both Stanford academics, Sutton and Rao pursued their quest with open minds, spoke to a lot of people and were led by the evidence. But their conclusions about how best to scale excellence closely mirror The Toyota Way: Continue reading

Review: The Process Improvement Handbook

Don’t be misled by the modest title. In ‘The Process Improvement Handbook’, Tristan Boutros and Tim Purdie  are attempting something very ambitious. They want to found the Process Improvement discipline.

From their Process Improvement manifesto to the detail of their Process Improvement methodology, they attempt to rise above the ideological fray, to transcend the conflicting orthodoxies and to propose a new framework and an ‘all-encompassing guide’ for Process Improvement professionals.

Lamenting the manifold ways in which Process Improvement typically underperforms, or outright fails, they set out to re-cast Process Improvement so that it is ‘an enabler and not a hindrance’:

“With the huge growth in spending on Process Improvement by enterprises and the strong evidence that significant investment in this domain can lead to costs savings and better business decision-making, the time has come to make the Process Improvement discipline professional.”

You might ask whether the world needs another Process Improvement (PI) methodology. Continue reading

What’s The Best Process Maturity Model?

Excuse my blatant crowdsourcing but I’m working on an evaluation of Process Excellence (PEX) Maturity Models – and need to be sure that I’ve rounded up the complete set.

This is the follow-on to my earlier post on what we mean by Process Excellence. The questions I’m asking now are:

  • How do PEX Maturity Models compare?
  • How might an organization decide which one is best?

I’m focussing on models or frameworks which purport to measure PEX from an enterprise-wide and holistic perspective.

So I’m excluding models which may cover PEX, and which some might therefore consider should be in scope, on the grounds that:

  • they are IT-centric (examples would be the ITIL and COBIT frameworks, the IVI’s IT Capability Maturity Framework, Gartner’s IT Maturity Models and Forrester’s e-Business Maturity Model)
  • they have a functional focus (such as the COSO framework, Forrester’s GRC Maturity Model, the HfS Global Business Services Maturity Model and the numerous supply chain models)
  • they are not currently intended to be enterprise-wide frameworks (which, possibly controversially, excludes the CMMI Acquisition, Development and Services Models)
  • they may be part of PEX heritage but are not used in practice today (examples would be the Business Process Maturity Model (BPMM) developed by Curtis and Weber, which formed the foundation for the OMG’s BPMM, and the University of Queensland’s Holistic BPM Maturity Model).

All of which leaves just nine wholegrain enterprise-wide PEX Maturity Models in scope:

APQC’s Business Process Management Maturity Assessment Tool (BPM MAT)

Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence

Deloitte’s Business Maturity Model

EFQM Excellence Model

Global Process Innovation’s Business Process Management Maturity Assessment Tool

Hammer and Company’s Process and Enterprise Maturity Model (PEMM)

MWD Advisors’ Business Process Management Capability Benchmark Tool

OMG’s Business Process Maturity Model v1.0 (BPMM)

Shingo Model for Operational Excellence

I think this is complete. And I’ve checked it against the University of Ghent’s Business Process Maturity Model Smart Selector (here) which is an awesome idea – and lists 60+ BPMMs.

But have I missed anyone?  Your thoughts and comments much appreciated, as ever.  The results will be reported here, hopefully later this month.

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You Say Process Excellence, She Says Operational Excellence, I Say…

You say Process Excellence, she says Operational Excellence, I say Performance Excellence.

Are we all talking about the same thing?

It’s a question that’s been swirling around the back of my mind for a while. I’ve now attempted to answer it in a presentation which I’ve uploaded to Slideshare here.

What triggered me to finally put some effort into addressing it was the passionate response last week (by Paul Harmon of BP Trends) to those who want to change the meaning of the term ‘business architecture’.  In the world of business process management, there’s a struggle between those who argue the benefits of a discipline based on a common language and the revisionists who argue that in a fast-changing world we can’t be hostage to ‘disciplines’ and ‘bodies of knowledge’  which are no longer relevant.  [Personally, I tend towards the revisionists. In order to pass my exam and become an OMG Certified Business Process Management Professional last week, I had to answer questions on books and documents published mostly a decade ago.  At a time of rapid change, there’s a real downside to formalisation.]

Anyway, by contrast and on the same day, a Linkedin discussion How Does Your Organization Define Process Excellence? popped into my inbox. To my surprise, the 20k+ members of the PEX Network Lean and Six Sigma Continuous Improvement group seemed to lack any real consensus (almost two years after the question was first asked).

As you’ll see from the slides, I’ve compiled a selection of 33 definitions of Process, Operational And Performance Excellence. This is just a sample of the available definitions, and excludes (because life’s too short) closely related terms such as ‘Business Excellence’ and ‘Business Process Excellence’.

My own conclusions are that:

  • there is no widely-shared standard definition for each term
  • the myriad definitions for each term hugely overlap
  • process excellence and operational excellence are effectively the same thing
  • arguably performance excellence is more clearly defined, by the Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria, and slightly more extensive.

Anyway, I hope you find it useful – and I’d be very interested to get your feedback (below or direct).

Next up, I’m planning to look next at the various process maturity models, to explore a related question: what are the differences in the evaluation frameworks?  If you’d like to join me in that, I’d be pleased to hear from you.

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