Adam Henshall – Process Street

All posts by Adam Henshall


How Were The Pyramids Built? Inside The World’s First Documented Processes

How were the pyramids builtWe talk a lot about processes here at Process Street and we try to give insight into not only how to make current processes better but also into how processes have evolved over time and why.

We’ve looked at case studies, poor processes, optimized processes, and technical guides to business process management.

But we’re no stranger to going back in time to explore the development of processes and where they came from. In this article, we’re going to follow up on the theme established in our post on surgical processes and look at processes and organizational systems in history.

This is the story of ancient Egypt.

The Great Pyramid is considered one of the wonders of the world. But how did it come to be?

We’ll look at a number of the classic discussions surrounding the construction of the pyramids, but focus on how a society which existed nearly 5000 years ago was able to construct some of the greatest and most iconic monuments known to humankind.

We’ll explore:

  • What was the Great Pyramid and how was it built?
  • Who built the Great Pyramid and what was labor like throughout the period of construction?
  • How were things organized in ancient Egypt?; Or, how to count from one to ten.
  • What do we know about trade in ancient Egypt?
  • Who were the scribes and why were they important?

Ancient Egypt is one of the first civilized societies for which we have an understanding of their perceptions of organization and management.

Spoiler alert: they used checklists!

Let’s dive in!

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How Does a Hedge Fund Work? Inside the Processes at Bridgewater Associates

How Does a Hedge Fund Work_ Inside the Processes at Bridgewater Associates-04Processes can be used to optimize the things you do every day, and we spend most of our time telling you that!

But where do these processes come from? Really.

Maybe you just documented your steps one day and built from there? In which case, the process evolved naturally from the actions you took intuitively. When I add big words into that description I can make it sound like a good thing. But it could be put another way.

You never took the time to think about the foundations of your process.

At the very base of all processes are a series of said and unsaid principles. In good processes and bad processes. If we want the best processes we can make, we need to understand and critically evaluate the principles which knowingly or unknowingly guide our every decision.

Ray Dalio’s text, Principles,¬†answers the question “how does a hedge fund work?” and gives us an insight into how he built the world’s largest one, Bridgewater Associates.

Bridgewater manages $160 billion worth of assets for 350 different clients. These clients range from large corporate bodies like McDonald’s to pension and wealth funds, and even to the assets of central banks. The whole company has been built around cultivating a radical company culture, and it is this radical company culture which makes Bridgewater Associates so successful and worth investigating!

In this Process Street article, we’re going to present to you a number of the ideas contained within the book and we’re going to pull out three specific company processes Dalio has developed on the back of these principles:

But be warned: it’s likely a radical break from your office!

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Create a Form That’s Beautiful: Typeform vs SurveyMonkey vs Wufoo

create a form typeform vs surveymonkey vs wufooThere are countless options available to help you create a form for your website or email campaign.

But you don’t need to go through a list of 29 different options of tools which do almost exactly the same thing.

What you want is to see the best tools for building forms which work and are enjoyable for your users or respondents to use.

That’s why we at Process Street have decided to analyze our 3 favorite form builders to understand exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what use cases they’re best suited to.

Many of our users utilize Process Street for building forms for collecting customer data, consumer feedback, or undertaking market research, so we’ve heard a great deal about what businesses are looking for from form builders and survey tools!

We’ll look at 6 categories by which will compare Typeform, Surveymonkey, and Wufoo to crown the best survey tool:

  1. Design
  2. Ease of use
  3. Features
  4. Delivery
  5. Reporting
  6. Price

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Are You Poka-Yoke Woke? Stop Mistakes With This Error Prevention Method (10 Examples)

poka yoke headerWhat’s better than fixing something when it’s broken?

Stopping it from breaking in the first place.

This article is going to focus on how you can put certain steps in place to catch problems before they arise.

This technique is called poka yoke and was born out of the Toyota Production System. At its core, poka yoke is extremely simple. Any addition to a process which is included to change the behavior of the person operating the process with the intention of reducing mistakes, can be referred to by the concept poka yoke.

In this article we’ll look at:

  • Where poka yoke came from
  • How to implement poka yoke
  • Successful examples of poka yoke in action

If you want your process to be the very best then you have to think about error prevention!

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How to Use The Deming Cycle for Continuous Quality Improvement

deming cycle headerUnderstanding quality and seeking to improve it is arguably the core purpose behind undertaking process improvements.

But where did this philosophy of process improvement come from?

One key person is William Edwards Deming – sometimes referred to as Edward W. Deming. He’s principally a statistician, but one could even call him a philosopher of science.

Deming’s goal was to reapply the scientific method to business processes, and has left us with two main variants of his thinking: PDSA and PDCA.

In this article we’ll outline:

  • What the Deming cycle is, with its history
  • How to apply the Deming cycle to improve your business processes
  • The important distinction between PDSA and PDCA
  • How PDSA is employed in the medical field

Deming’s approach is not just about improving processes, but about improving a whole business.

In a recent meta-study from the British Medical Journal, researchers found only 2 out of 73 studies had applied PDSA in a way which fully met criteria. Commenting:

To progress the development of the science of improvement, a greater understanding of the use of improvement methods, including PDSA, is essential to draw reliable conclusions about their effectiveness.

And that’s why we’re writing this article!

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DMAIC: The Complete Guide to Lean Six Sigma in 5 Key Steps

dmaic headerWe all like to know about the broader philosophies behind process improvements, but sometimes we need to knuckle down and look at some of the more technical details.

One of the core techniques behind any process improvement, particularly in Six Sigma, is DMAIC.

This handy approach, pronounced duh-may-ik, is the key to employing Six Sigma and beginning your journey to being a process hero. We’re going to cover each step in the process and detail how to effectively enact every section.

This guide will lead you through from start to finish and get you ready to start employing lean Six Sigma within your business!

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Inside the Recruitment Processes of 3 Tech Giants (and How to Improve Yours!)

recruitment process google facebook spacex headerOne of the key strengths of top companies is the employees inside them.

Who they hire and how they hire them helps determine employee attainment, employee satisfaction, employee accountability, and employee turnover.

Small changes to recruiting processes can have a surprisingly large impact on the day to day life of a company. According to the Glassdoor Economic Research (2015) report, a 10% harder interview process is associated with a 2.6% higher employee satisfaction later on.

Loads of our clients use Process Street for managing their recruitment processes and we know all too well how important it is to get that process right.

That’s why we’re going to explore how 3 top tech giants manage their recruitment and see what gold standard techniques we can pass on to you. We’ll explore:

  • The three stage process Google use to make new hires
  • How Facebook hire Builders not just regular folk
  • What SpaceX do to hire the best of the best

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How Subscriptions Will Stop Fake News Killing Digital Content

stop fake news quality content headerFake news is a hot button issue right now and one we’ve covered a couple of times at Process Street.

Normally, the discussion of fake news is a roundly negative affair.

How do we come back from consistently lowering journalistic standards? What does this mean for society?

In this article, I’m going to put a more positive face on and explain why there’s good reason to believe quality journalism is going to make a comeback – it may have already begun!

  • We’ll look at broadly what fake news is, and why it isn’t a wholly new phenomena.
  • We’ll look at the financial performance of different media outlets and try to understand what economic motivations there are in the industry, plus how that impacts on content.
  • We’ll look at the new wave of journalistic opportunities and what you can do to help!

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How to Smash Your Business Bottlenecks (Plus 3 Key Tools to Help!)

how to smash your business bottlenecksOn October 3rd 2017, the Financial Times reported that Tesla shares had slumped after the business hit a bottleneck in its production.

Tesla shares fell nearly 2 per cent to $335.91 after the Palo Alto-based company said that it produced just 260 of its Model 3 vehicles in the third quarter, well below the target of more than 1,500 that chief executive Elon Musk had predicted for the month of September alone.

What caused that failure to hit the target?

A bottleneck.

A bottleneck is when one process in a chain of processes cannot perform to the standard of those around it, creating a delay which damages the other processes.

No matter how well Tesla creates batteries or programs its self-driving software, if the factory can’t, for example, install tires fast enough then Tesla can only produce cars at the rate it installs tires.

That poor process brings all of production down to its level. Business output becomes defined by its weakest link.

But it’s not just shop floor industrial processes which fall foul of these problems. Any business or set of operations will be faced with this challenge too. In this article, we’ll look at a couple of approaches you can use to attempt to identify and overcome bottlenecks in your business.

  • Flow charts help you visualize current operations
  • The Five Whys technique allows you to identify root causes quickly
  • Toyota’s three concepts for process implementation focus your improvement
  • How Process Street can assist in beating bottlenecks

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The Best Payment Platforms: Stripe vs Paypal vs Square vs Braintree

stripe_vs_paypal_vs_square_vs_braintree best payment platformIn the first quarter of 2017, the AppStore and Playstore saw record revenues yet again with a whopping total of $15 billion worldwide, representing a year over year growth of 45%.

Add in other online sales and the amount of money being spent is astronomical.

But how do we process all these sales? And what means of processing is best for your company?

We’ve pondered the question at Process Street and decided to write up our findings. In this article, we’ll compare Stripe, Paypal, Square, and Braintree to see what each do and how they do it. We’ll analyze those findings and suggest which might be better for different kinds of businesses.

The key areas we’ll compare are:

  • Features – what do they offer and what can’t they do?
  • Pricing – where can we find those small gains which make a difference at scale?
  • Ease of use – can a regular person integrate it into their business, or is a developer needed?

But first, let’s look at some of the different use cases for these payment platforms to contextualize our investigation.

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