Whether working at the individual process level or across an enterprise, too many business process management (BMP) initiatives do not deliver on promises made or even if the promises are delivered, there is often no solid evidence and, in a sceptical, busy world, the work is dismissed.
This is according to Roger Tregear, a manager at Leonardo International and Ian Huntly, CEO of Rifle-Shot Performance Holdings.
Businesses ask staff to be involved in process improvement and encourage them to innovate. Six months later, the post-it notes have fallen off the wall and the memories have faded. If strategic, operational and tactical decisions are not being made based on the measured performance of business processes, why would process management and improvement be taken seriously?
The discovery and use of effective process performance measures can be designed, implemented and maintained to deliver significant benefits for strategic and operational management. This creates a “virtuous cycle” with process improvement, small and large, embedded in daily operations.
Why measure?

Why measure process performance? Because, if users don’t, all of their process analysis and management efforts are a waste of time; they don’t have control over the things that really matter and organisational decision-making can only be sub-optimal.

The only reason for doing process analysis, improvement and management is to improve organisation performance in meaningful ways. No organisation has a problem called “we don’t have enough process models”. Without measurement, users don’t know if there is improvement; they don’t know what is meaningful.

Business processes are the way an organisation delivers value to its customers. On that basis alone, the argument for measuring process performance is easily made. Are users delivering value to customers in a way that impresses them and is sustainable for the company?
The plethora of measures about internal achievement – budget tracking, policy compliance, project completion or people management – say little, if anything, about value delivery. Process performance says it all.

A great deal can be gained from effective process-based management, but every organisation has the right, indeed the obligation, to demand that those involved continuously demonstrate that the promised benefits have been realised.
The process of process management also needs to be constantly improved. For this to be possible there must be regular assessment of the effectiveness of the changes made. Process practitioners are not in the business of just making recommendations; their purpose is to make positive change – and to prove that they have done so.

Measuring business process performance delivers many benefits:

* Factual evidence of customer service levels
* Better understanding of cross-functional performance
* Enhanced alignment of operations with strategy;
* Improved understanding of where, and how, costs are incurred;
* Evidence-based determination of process improvement priorities;
* Detection of performance trends
* Better understanding of the capability range of a process
* Uncovering actual and latent problems
* Changing behaviour based on factual feedback; and
* Improved control over the risks that really matter.
BPM initiatives that do not incorporate process measurement will fail. Process measurement is not always easy, but it is always possible.