Business process reengineering in support of mission objectives is a valuable effort. The GAO Business Process Reengineering Assessment Guide provides a framework for assessing reengineering efforts in pursuit of significant cost savings and performance improvement.
This is the second article in a three-article series summarizing the GAO guide. This article is intended to provide a summary of the framework provided by GAO for managing reengineering efforts once the agency has determined that reengineering efforts are appropriate in one or more areas.
Kicking-Off Reengineering Efforts
Project Management Best Practices – Manage process reengineering utilizing a formal project charter and project plan. These documents are critical to outline guidelines such as the team scope, authority, deliverables and time frames. The project management efforts should also identify executive level project sponsors who can provide support throughout the life of the effort.
Determine a Process Owner – Be sure to identify a process owner for the new process before reengineering activities begin. The designated individual should be highly involved in reengineering efforts.
Skills and Training – Set the project up for success by creating a qualified team trained in reengineering methodology. The team will conduct detailed mapping, define process measures and develop implementation plans; they need the background to conduct these activities.
Keep in mind that team members may change over the course of the project based upon skills needed or input required from subject matter experts.
Process Analysis and Alternative Development
Existing Process Analysis – The team analyzes the existing process to identify workflow, dependencies with other processes, improvement opportunities and to establish a performance baseline. While this is an important step, it should not take a large amount of time. This work serves as a basis for understanding current tasks and requirements; however the emphasis should be on developing alternatives to the existing process.
New Process Alternatives – Alternative processes should be evaluated for costs/benefits and risks. Use subject matter expert and stakeholder input to help develop assessments. Risks should include potential challenges for implementation and may include employee skills required, laws and regulations, political issues and others.
Performance-Based Benefit Cost Analysis – Using baseline information from the existing process and the analyses of possible alternatives, develop a risk-adjusted benefit cost analysis for each alternative. This information will provide decision makers with a foundation for selecting a viable option.
Business Case Development
Select an Alternative to Develop – The alternative processes are reviewed and the best option is selected from the information presented in the cost/benefit analyses. Consideration is also given to financial, agency and other environmental factors. A scoring system or evaluation matrix may be used to rank alternatives.
Detailed Business Case – Updated information should be used to develop a detailed business case for the selected alternative. In addition to projected performance, information should be included relevant to implementation plans and potential challenges.
Capital Investment Review – Agencies should use their specific Capital Investment Review process to fund the selected alternative. The detailed business case serves as a key document to support the process.