Project Management – Process Street

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How to Use Conditional Logic: 8 Ways to Simplify Complex Processes

conditional logic

Documenting processes is great in theory, but creating and following them can be a pain.

Your processes need to be standardized so that everyone’s performing the same tasks consistently. However, that often leaves you with either a large, complex and unusable process which covers every situation or lots of smaller, specialized processes which become difficult to manage or track.

Conditional logic saves you all of that trouble by letting you create processes which change to suit the situation at hand.

By setting rules for your processes to follow and update based on their outcome, you can simplify your processes and make even the most complicated task list easy to navigate. All optional tasks can be automatically hidden from view until (and if) they are required to keep your dashboard clear and encourage teams to avoid taking shortcuts.

Nobody wants to work through a horribly complex process that you know you won’t need half of to complete your task.

However, as with business process automation, conditional logic’s power is best shown through examples, so today I’ll be showing you both how to use it and giving eight example processes which take advantage of it, including client onboarding and user support.

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9 Lean Manufacturing Principles to Kill the Jargon and Get Quality Results

lean manufacturing principles

If the following benefits sound like something you’d like for your business, you need to use lean manufacturing principles:

  • 80%+ waste reduction
  • 50% lower production costs
  • 80-90% reduction in standing inventory
  • 90% lower cost of quality (it’s 90% cheaper to make quality products)
  • 50% increased labor productivity

Lean is a system, method, school of thought, and even a way of life, all focused on reducing waste. Although it’s usually applied to manufacturing (hence “lean manufacturing principles”), the methods to achieve it can be used to reduce waste while maintaining high quality no matter what operation you’re running.

The key is knowing what each principle involves and how to use it, which is exactly what we’re going to cover today!

Keep reading to get the full rundown on the following lean principles (with two techniques for good measure):

  • Eliminate waste
  • Kaizen (continuous improvement)
  • Respect human elements
  • Heijunka (level production)
  • JIT (Just In Time) production
  • One piece flow
  • Quality built-in
  • Poka-Yoke (mistake proofing)
  • Jidoka (detecting defects through automation)

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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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What is a Business Process Consultant? (And How To Find a Good One)

business process consultant

What do you do if you don’t have the time or know-how to document and improve your processes?

You hire a business process consultant of course!

While we’ve talked endlessly in the past about why processes are important and how to manage your own, hiring a business process consultant lets you reap all the benefits without having to spend an age assessing your organization and talking to every last employee involved.

So, if you want to organize your processes and bring efficiency to your business but don’t have time to do it yourself, read on!

process consultant hired

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How One Piece Flow Can Reduce Your Operations Time by 96%

One Piece Flow - header

We’ve all heard about the importance of focusing on one task at a time.

Take that idea, apply it to manufacturing, and you have the concept of one piece flow.

The concept is simple in that you have to limit yourself to working on one item at a time (you only ever have one WIP item). By doing this you can save time and money, as work is performed faster and any space you use is highly optimized.

In fact, it’s the very same concept that Toyota used to reduce the time taken to pack boxes in to help families hit by Hurricane Sandy by 94%.  In total, the aid workers were able to feed 400 more families in less than half the time.

However, there are a few vital things that you need to be careful of when applying one piece (or “continuous”) flow. It’s not a miracle cure, and while it can be used outside of an assembly line, there are a few practical elements which can’t be ignored.

So, today I’ll be diving into:

  • What one piece flow is
  • The advantages and disadvantages
  • How to implement it
  • Using one piece flow in any area of your business
  • The problems of theory vs practical effects

Let’s get started.

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Little’s Law: How to Analyze Your Processes (with Stealth Bombers)

little's law - header 2

Simple as it may be, Little’s law is an incredibly powerful tool in the arsenal of almost any team. From performing back-of-the-napkin calculations to showing the performance of a system over time, this formula is one of the key building blocks to running an efficient business.

Without Little’s law, Lean and Kanban wouldn’t exist, and key elements of America’s nuclear deterrence would be left up to chance.

After all, you can’t fly B-2 stealth bombers into action if they’re all under maintenance due to bad queue management.
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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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6 Types of Project Proposals That Get Approved (and How to Write Them)

project proposal - header

Project proposals are how you can get management to act on your ideas. They’re the bottom-up version of a project request form.

They are how you can influence your company’s future.

Writing a project proposal isn’t rocket science, but it is a vital skill for being able to successfully pitch projects that you know will benefit your team and business as a whole. Casual conversations aren’t enough – you need to give a formal document which addresses concerns before your manager, CEO, and stakeholders have a chance to voice them.

Plus, having a set template for writing a proposal gives you a document which you can reference throughout the entire project. Instead of having to rely on notes and your vague memory of a water cooler conversation, you have set instructions to follow, and a defense against anyone who says that the project isn’t worth it.

It’s a great example of effective business process management – if anyone questions you, you can show them the project proposal and say “this was approved, and so this is what we’re going to do”.

project proposal - approved by chuck norris

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Every Timeline Template You’ll Ever Need (the 18 Best Templates)

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Using any of the following 18 timeline templates will cut the fuss out of presenting your data in a way that’s easy to understand and visualize.

Whether you’re showing off your company’s milestones to potential investors, breaking down a project into individual tasks for your team, or just organizing your week to come, these templates will let you forget about formatting and get straight down to recording and using your relevant data.

time template - calendar gif

Every single one of these is free to use and doesn’t require an email address, account creation, or anything of the sort – I’ve just collected the best templates from across the web in one place for you to have a wide selection. All 18 will be organized into one of four categories:

  • Calendar timeline
  • Linear timelines
  • Project timeline templates
  • Spreadsheet timeline templates

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How to Create a Project Request Form (and Why Your Company Needs One)

project request form - header

Whether you’ve completed a project a hundred times before or you’re faced with a new challenge, having some kind of formal project request form prevents the whole operation descending into a game of broken telephone and wasted resources.

No matter how good your team’s discipline, if all they have to go on when you request a project is a vague message and their memory of the requirements, sooner or later you’re going to have a problem. Either a project will be started which won’t be worth your time or your instructions will be lost in the trickle down to those taking action.

Whilst on manoeuvers, a brigadier commanding a certain brigade stationed in Aldershot passed the word to the nearest colonel to him:

“Enemy advancing from the left flank. Send reinforcements.”

By the time it reached the end of the right flank the message was received:

“Enemy advancing with ham-shanks. Send three and fourpence!”’ – Garson O’Tool, relaying a real-world instance of broken telephone from 1914

project request form - jimmy fallon chinese whispers 1

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