CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Where to Start with Business Processes

Identifying Opportunity to Improve

Avoiding the urge to merely work through a compiled list of processes, it’s worthwhile to seek out the most impactful opportunities. Within a business, the highest impact comes from complexity, frequency, delivering value, and costs.

Complex

In the late 1930s, airlines began including a preflight checklist for pilots and crew. With hundreds of potential pitfalls, the checklist simplifies the mental load before each flight. This allows flight crews to save time, turnaround flights faster, and ultimately provide a safer experience for passengers.

Every business has areas that would benefit from simplicity. In our engineering services, we have a series of tasks an engineer must complete before writing the first line of code. This pre-programming checklist is continually refined but it reduces errors, wasted effort, and confusion.

Frequent

When a fast food franchise is producing thousands of hamburgers a day, an extra few seconds on each burger compounds to a significant cost over time. Instituting a process around high frequency activities, those done most often, allows for greater predictability. With many jobs, building a process around high frequency tasks can also drive down the level of skill required to complete the work.

While most business will not become franchises, a repeatable pattern for frequent tasks makes room for growth and improves chances of success.

Valuable

Certain tasks are more valuable than others. In a software development agency, clients are ultimately paying for strategic planning and skilled execution. Establishing processes that guide the time spent can produce even greater value. Whether a service or product, it’s important to protect the value customers are expecting.

Delivering value with more precision and consistency can increase speed of delivery, improve quality, and improve profit margins.

Expensive

In restaurants, food and labor are the largest expenses. Unchecked, even the busiest restaurants struggle. Introducing a team to processes around costly areas of the business will protect the bottom line and pay dividends over time.

It’s also important to not get lost optimizing trivia expenses. Spending hours pouring over expense reports to save a few bucks creates tremendous opportunity cost.