By Laura Cleland at November 16 2018 05:09:17
They are more difficult to implement through discipline than administrative human-centric processes (although some discipline is needed). It is better to focus on obtaining buy-in from the people affected by the processes through early involvement, communication and expectations management. It is a known fact that knowledge workers are reluctant to change their habits. Some say knowledge workers don't like following procedures because they feel it limits their creativity; but most of the time they will be happy to follow a procedure as long as they see value in it, perceiving that it helps them work better and produce a better process output.
The key to process improvement is to clearly communicate process definitions (the way in which the company wants the processes to be carried out) to the people in charge of their execution (through training, process descriptions publication, etc...). The better process participants understand the process definition, the higher the probability that the process is carried out according to it. They are better implemented through obtaining buy-in than through imposing directives.
Process definitions are high level descriptions instead of rigid workflows : Processes can only be defined up to a certain level of detail, and it is difficult to provide low level work instructions or to automate decisions. Because they cannot be formalised in detail, process simulation is rarely possible. Decisions are highly subjective and too complex to be expressed in a formal language, as they are taken based on intuition and not on rigid business rules.
Multiple inputs to the process exist : Some of them would be competition, lifecycle stage of the market, brand image, budget, etc... ; Complex decisions are made : There are many possible ways to achieve the process objectives (reach planned sales, leverage brand image, etc...) ; Each decision implies different levels of risk and potential benefits : It is the responsibility of the worker to choose the best one (low price strategy, aggressive advertising campaign, etc...) ; There are three main characteristics that make knowledge processes different from highly structured processes: Focus is on communication instead of automation.