The steps in a BPI project usually include:
- Assess and document the "current state" of the business processes. Review existing process documentation, interview employees and document (map) the existing process flow and personnel involved at each stage of the process.
- Identify and document existing critical business issues, risks and interrelationships. Business risks and critical interrelationships must be fully assessed during the initial review stage and considered in the recommendations for implementing change.
- Benchmark the current level of performance against an industry recognized standard (frameworks include but are not limited to ISO standards, Capability Maturity Model, Six Sigma, COBiT).
- Determine management's desired "future state" of operating. Process improvement initiatives must be aligned with the organization's strategic goals in order to provide direction and ensure progress towards change.
- Perform a "gap analysis" including the identification of existing barriers and success factors critical to reaching the desired future state. A gap analysis consists of (1) listing the characteristic factors of the current state (2) against the factors required to achieve the future state and (3) highlighting the gaps that exist and need to be changed.
- Develop recommendations and a practical implementation strategy that meets the organization's objectives. When preparing the detailed implementation plan, divide tasks based on immediate activities required to activate change today and a dedication to new ongoing control activities to embed change within the corporate culture.
- Lead the change management process. This step involves a multitude of activities that should be championed by management and process owners. The rate of change achievable by an organization is dependent on many elements within the enterprise and management's appetite for effecting change.
- Track and report against performance metrics and monitor progress. Regularly reporting progress and achievements against pre-defined metrics is important to maintain momentum in the change management process by communicating the BPI results. Continuous evaluation and re-assessment is required to ensure the changes are creating the desired improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.
If management engages external consultants to define the change process, they must be vigilant to ensure the consultant's knowledge is continuously transitioned throughout the project for changes to be self-sustaining.