Process Improvements: Your Ultimate Toolkit With 17 Free Templates

Process improvements

The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement” – Helmut Schmidt

Only 4% of businesses measure and manage their processes. Process improvements are impossible with stats like that.

Why, when doing so provides an avenue for continuous improvement, advancement, and business success?

At Process Street, documenting our processes means we can continuously assess what is working and what is not.

For instance, when I first began as a Content Writer, I found navigating HTML code difficult. Luckily for me, at Process Street we document all of our business processes, creating full transparency over what works and what doesn’t. In this sense, a stronger HTML focus was needed during training. The required changes were made, and our training resulted in major process improvements.

In this article, you will find out how you can do the same. You will learn how to:

  • Identify opportunities for process improvements.
  • Implement the changes required.
  • Measure the success of the changes made.

Think of this article as your ultimate toolkit, to make continuous process improvements in your business. We provide you with 17 free templates, to support you in improving your processes. Click on the links below to jump to the relevant template.

Or, if you just can’t wait, check out the first of our templates below to see what we’ll be giving you!

We begin this article by explaining exactly what we mean by the term process improvement, and identifying the three steps you should follow to effectively improve processes in your business. The templates provided above have been carefully designed to assist you with each step.

Click on the relevant subheader below to jump to the appropriate section, alternatively scroll down to read all we have to say.

Let’s get started!

What do we mean by the term process improvement?

Process improvement is a proactive approach used to identify, analyze, and improve existing business processes within an organization, aiming to optimize and meet new quotas or standards of quality.

The definition for process improvement seems self-evident, but implementing process improvements in practice is more complex.

For practicality, making process improvements can be split into three stages, namely:

  • Identifying business opportunities for improvement
  • Implementing changes
  • Measuring the impact of those changes

At Process Street we have been working hard to provide you with free, and easy to follow templates for each of these stages. With our templates, you will create structure and momentum for a continuous approach for process improvements.

Process improvements: Step 1 – Identifying business opportunities for improvement

A business opportunity is a situation that presents a potential gain. In business, this situation is related to the production, buying, or selling of goods or services.

It is easy for teams to become desensitized to process inefficiencies and allow bad habits to fester impacting work quality. The following templates have been designed to help you identify business opportunities to improve upon a business process end. These templates are free and ready for you to jump in and use right away.

If you haven’t already, sign up to Process Street here to get started!

Business Requirements Template

Run this Business Requirements Template when working to produce a new product, service, or project that grasps-hold of a business opportunity. Using this template means you will be able to make assessments against stakeholder needs to determine a solution.

This Business Requirements Template has been designed to avoid mismatches between what has been designed and what is needed. Improve your business output by identifying service or product opportunities, a key step in making process improvements.

Click here to access our Business Requirements Template!

SIPOC Template

Use this SIPOC Template to identify all relevant elements of a process improvement project. This process divides the development of business operations into 5 steps:

  1. Identifying and documenting supplier information
  2. Identifying and documenting input information
  3. Identifying and documenting process information
  4. Identifying and documenting output information
  5. Identifying and documenting customer information

The SIPOC tool is usually used in the measure phase of a six sigma DMAIC project and works to identify opportunities for process improvement by:

  • One: Identifying overall processes within a working system
  • Two: Providing an overall perspective of a working system
  • Three: Supporting the definition, structuring, and coping of complex working systems
  • Four: Highlighting possible problems or weaknesses in the processes of a working system

Click here to access the SIPOC Template!

SWOT Analysis Template

The purpose of SWOT analysis is to examine an organization, business, or project against four attributes, namely:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

SWOT analysis helps the assessment of risks and potential rewards, whilst understanding important factors that may impact the success or failure of a business.

To run a successful SWOT analysis, honesty and incorporating different viewpoints from all organizational departments is crucial, helping to build an unbiased picture of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Click here to access the SWOT Analysis Template!

FMEA Template: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis

Run this FMEA Template to identify potential problems, working to prioritize and mitigate them.

  • Failure mode: These are the individual ways problems can occur within a process. These can be identified for effective analysis.
  • Effects analysis: This is the process of tracking problem causes and taking the steps necessary to prioritize failures. Once prioritized, problems can be tackled and the process optimized.

Click here to access this FMEA Template: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis!

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Template Structure

Use this template to organize your business activities and provide the structure necessary to construct Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

The action of documenting your business procedures is a business opportunity in itself that can be used to create process improvements by:

  1. Creating an avenue for continuous improvement
  2. Enabling business growth
  3. Reducing error
  4. Building business consistency
  5. Saving time.

Start documenting your Standard Operating Procedures today with our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Template Structure.

Click here to access this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Template Structure!

Using process documentation as a business opportunity

I wanted to take the time to expand on the point that business process documentation is a business opportunity in its own right. That is, process documentation is an action you can take for business process improvements, enabling you to achieve the benefits already mentioned above.

You can use Process Street to document your processes effectively, efficiently, and with ease.

If you are new to Process Street and unsure how to use our platform, watch the below webinar: An Introduction to Process Street.

Process Street is superpowered checklists.

With Process Street your business operations are documented in a checklist format. Our checklists have the following features:

By incorporating these features into a checklist, you can create dynamic template machines for you to reap the benefits that come with process documentation.

Use process documentation as an opportunity to plan and identify additional opportunities

On top of the benefits process documentation brings in its own right, you can also document procedures that are specifically designed to identify opportunities for process improvements. The 5 templates above are examples of such processes.

Capturing opportunities through process documentation can be used at a personal level, a business level, and a non-profit, service sector level.

Luckily, you can document any process in Process Street regardless of process specificity. To illustrate this, check out our Soap Note Template, HACCP Process, and HAZOP Process templates detailed below.

Medical industry: Soap Note Template

Specific to the medical industry, and to be used by medical professionals, our Soap Note Template guides you through patient assessment, incorporating the SOAP methodology as an opportunity for a clear, structured, and carefully designed patient assessments.

The four main parts to the SOAP notes methodology includes:

  • Part one: Subjective, this is what the patient tells you
  • Part two: Objective, this is what you see as a medical professional
  • Part three: Assessment, this is what you think is going on
  • Part four: This is what you can do about it

Click here to access the SOAP Note Template!

Food and beverage industry: HACCP Process checklist

Our HACCP Process is uniquely for businesses handling food. The HACCP process identifies the opportunity to keep food safe from biological, chemical, and physical food safety hazards.

A HACCP plan involves:

  • Looking closely at what you do in your business, what could go wrong, and what risks there are to food safety.
  • Identifying critical control points, that is, areas of a business that need focus to ensure risks can be removed or reduced to safe levels.
  • Deciding on what action to take if something goes wrong.
  • Keeping records to show what procedures are working.

Click here to access the HACCP Process!

Manufacturing industry: HAZOP Process checklist

HAZOP (Hazard and Operability Study) is a process uniquely designed for the manufacturing industry, whereby hazards in a system can lead to nonconforming products. The HAZOP process gives the opportunity to enforce quality control, preventing deviations in design or operating intentions.

Using this HAZOP Process checklist, you can implement a thorough, orderly, and systematic approach to identify, evaluate, and control the hazards of workplace processes.

Click here to access our HAZOP Process checklist!

You can see how easy it is to document any process within Process Street to help you identify and act on opportunities that arise in both your working and personal life.

You can edit any one of our process improvement templates to adapt the checklists to your specific needs. To find out more, watch the below video: The basics of creating and editing templates.

Process improvements: Step 2 – Implementing changes

As you work to identify opportunities for process improvements, next, take action and implement the required changes.

If you read Process Street’s previous articles – detailed below – you will understand that it is necessary to incorporate a formal process to integrate change into a business.

At Process Street, we have created 7 templates for you to effectively manage and incorporate business change. These templates have been created from change management models that are proven to be successful.

Lewin’s Change Management Model

Developed by social psychologist Kurt Lewin in 1940, Lewin’s Change Management Model is one of the most popular approaches for dealing with and planning for change.

In this model, change is split into three stages:

  • Stage 1: Unfreeze the status quo
  • Stage 2: Make changes
  • Stage 3: Refreeze to lock-in changes for a new status quo

Lewin’s model breaks change down into bitesize chunks, taking people, and processes into account. The model recognizes that companies can be stuck in a rigid process that needs to be unstuck for change to occur.

Click here to access Lewin’s Change Management Model Process Checklist!

Bridges Transition Model Process Checklist

Developed by William Bridges in 1991, this model looks at change as a transition, considering the emotional journey of change experienced by employees. In this model, the change is forced on the recipient, but this fact is acknowledged and dealt with.

The model considers the transition during change, looking at change as a journey instead of an abrupt shift. Three stages of this journey are detailed:

  • Stage 1 – Ending, losing and letting go
  • Stage 2 – The neutral zone
  • Stage 3 – The new beginning

Each stage is characterized by the emotionally journey of the employee during that period.

Click here to access Bridges Transition Model Process Checklist!

ADKAR Model Change Management Process Checklist

Developed by Jeffery Hiatt in 2003, the ADKAR Model takes a bottom-up approach for the application of change. Each letter in the acronym stands for a goal to be reached:

  • A: Awareness of the need for change
  • D: Desire to participate and support the change
  • K: Knowledge on how to change
  • A: Ability to implement the required skills and behaviors for change
  • R: Reinforcement to sustain change

With these goals, the ADKAR Model successfully plans for change on both an individual and organizational level. As a change management model, ADKAR is easy to learn, creates a new lens for viewing change, drives action, and addresses how change happens.

Click here to access the ADKAR Model Change Management Process Checklist!

McKinsey 7-S Model Process Checklist

The McKinsey 7-S Model was developed in the 1980s by Robert H. Walterman and Tom Peters.

The model identifies 7 elements of a company, detailing how one will impact the other. These elements are split into two categories, hard and soft. Hard elements are driven by management and are more tangible. Soft elements are driven by culture and are less tangible.

Hard elements include:

Soft elements include:

The model aims to align these 7-S elements so that they support each other and your company’s objectives.

Click here to access the McKinsey 7-S Model Process Checklist!

Kotter’s Change Management Model Process Checklist

Developed by John Kotter in 1995, Kotter’s Change Management Model’s core focus is to create a sense of urgency for change. The model states that with this urgency, momentum for change is obtained.

The model splits the application of change into 8 stages:

  • Stage 1 – Creating a sense of urgency
  • Stage 2 – Building a core coalitionl
  • Stage 3 – Forming a strategy vision
  • Stage 4 – Getting everyone on board
  • Stage 5 – Removing barriers and reducing friction
  • Stage 6 – Generating short-term wins
  • Stage 7 – Sustaining acceleration
  • Stage 8 – Setting the changes in stone

The first stages (1-3) are all about creating drive within your team to implement the needed change. The following stages (4-8) focus on sustaining this drive, seeing the change through to the end.

Click here to access Kotter’s Change Management Model Process Checklist!

Kubler-Ross Change Curve Change Management Model Process Checklist

The Kubler-Ross Change Curve was developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist who detailed the first five stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying, published in 1969.

The model recognizes the emotional burden of change on employees within a company. These emotions can place a stranglehold on productivity. However, if acknowledged and managed correctly, the negative emotional repercussions of change can be minimized.

The Kubler-Ross Change Curve details five stages of grief during the change process:

  • Stage 1: Denial
  • Stage 2: Anger
  • Stage 3: Bargaining
  • Stage 4: Depression
  • Stage 5: Acceptance

With knowledge of these stages, the model suggests a way to manage, control, and direct these emotions positively and progressively, leading the way for change.

Click here to access the Kubler-Ross Change Curve Process Checklist!

Nudge Theory Change Management Model Process Checklist

The Nudge Theory for change is more of a theory – hence the name – than a change management model. The idea is that individuals are nudged into making the desired decision by altering the environment in which the individual is making that decision. This environment is the choice architecture.

The theory is a behavioral science concept developed by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.

Individuals are nudged along the choice process with the end goal that they will choose your introduced changes. This Nudge Theory Change Management Model Process Checklist has been broken down into the following stages:

  • Changes are clearly defined
  • Changes are considered from the employee’s point of view
  • Evidence is used to show the best options
  • Change is presented as a choice
  • Feedback is listened to and gathered
  • Obstacles are limited
  • Momentum is maintained with short-term wins

Click here to access the Nudge Theory Change Management Model Process Checklist!

For more information on the Nudge Theory and Choice Architecture, read: Choice Architecture Explained: How To Remove Human Bias From Your Business Today.

Process improvements: Step 3 – Measuring the impact of change

So far, you have identified an opportunity for process improvement. You have planned for and managed change resulting from these process improvements. The next step looks at measuring the impact of the changes made. That is, have the changes implemented been beneficial, or caused negative repercussions on the business and its employees?

For this, I present you with two more templates:

Each one of these templates tracks the progress of changes made and the impact of these changes on business.

Satir Change Management Model Process Checklist

Developed by Virginia Satir, the Satir Change Management Model explores five stages of grief that employees are predicted to feel during organizational change.

These stages are:

  • Stage 1: Late status quo
  • Stage 2: Resistance
  • Stage 3: Chaos
  • Stage 4: Integration
  • Stage 5: New status quo

Acknowledging these stages tracks the impact of change on employee performance.

Click here to access the Satir Change Management Model Process Checklist!

PDCA Cycle Change Management Model Process Checklist

First introduced by Walter Shewhart, and later developed by W.Edwards Deming in the 1950s, the PDCA cycle looks at change as a continuous process for improvement.

There are four stages:

  • Stage 1: Plan
  • Stage 2: Do
  • Stage 3: Check
  • Stage 4: Act

These stages are iterative, that is, as a circle, each stage is completed again, and again, and again…

Problems are identified, solutions are tested systematically, results are assessed and new solutions are implemented when needed.

Click here to access the PDCA Cycle Change Management Model Process Checklist!

Use Process Street to make effective process improvements in your business

To improve processes in your business, begin by documenting your processes. This is something you can do with ease and efficiency in Process Street.

Documenting your processes brings about process improvements in its own right. However, you should also use the templates given in this article to apply process improvement methodologies that:

  1. Identify opportunities for process improvements
  2. Implement the changes needed to improve processes
  3. Measure the impact of the changes implemented

By documenting your processes, in addition to having access to these 17 templates, Process Street is your best companion when it comes to making process improvements.

For more information on process documentation and process improvement, read the following articles:

What are you waiting for?

Start and improve your processes today, sign up to Process Street here!

How do you improve processes in your business? What challenges and successes have you faced? Please comment below as we would love to hear from you. Who knows, you may even get featured in an upcoming article.

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Jane Courtnell

Hi there, I am a Junior Content Writer at Process Street. I graduated in Biology, specializing in Environmental Science at Imperial College London. During my degree, I developed an enthusiasm for writing to communicate environmental issues. I continued my studies at Imperial College's Business School, and with this, my writing progressed looking at sustainability in a business sense. When I am not writing I enjoy being in the mountains, running and rock climbing. Follow me at @JaneCourtnell.

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