Performance Design Lab Bulletin – October 2006

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Hello Again,

Here’s the latest from the “Lab” . . .             

What  We’re  Thinking

Process Re-Definition – All shape and manner  of things are called processes these days and there’s a real need to revisit the definition of process. A common  definition of process goes something like this: “A chain of activities that converts various inputs into valued outputs”. We’re now thinking that that definition is more a description of the characteristics of a process. We  also would argue that “process” is a construct or artifice for articulating and organizing work in a way that meets three critical criteria:

  • First, so that the work can be effectively and efficiently performed. Most everyone will have to agree with that.
  • Second, so it can be effectively managed.  This is new. In the past, the major emphasis on organizing work has been effective and efficient performance of the work – effective management  of the work has been overlooked. Frequently overlooked is the need to organize work so that management  has the ability to plan and track performance and fix accountability.
  • Third, wherever practical, work should be organized within a business so as to provide that business with a competitive advantage.  From Michael Porter, “A company  outperforms rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve. Ultimately, all differences between companies derive from the hundreds of activities required to create, produce, sell and deliver their products and services.”

So this is our definition: PROCESS  is a construct or artifice for organizing work so it:

  • Can be Performed  effectively and efficiently
  • Can be Managed  effectively
  • Offers the potential for a competitive advantage

We will be discussing the implications of this re-definition of process in future Bulletins  and papers.

What We’re Doing


A great deal of our current efforts are being directed toward developing methodologies and tools for defining an organization’s Business Architecture – the often missing or deficient top level of most Enterprise Architecture definition efforts.

We’re excited about closing this gap and the feedback we’ve received is that our approach is right on target. We’ll have more to share on this topic in the next Bulletin.

We continue to apply the PDL technology and methodologies to achieving results. Our most recent efforts include:

  • Development of a major service organization’s Business Process Architecture
  • Development of a process based approach to requirements development in support of the IT organization in a major service organization
  • Transfer of our proven Process Design and Management methodology in support of a government organization’s large scale transformation effort
  • Establishment of Performance Consulting center of excellence within a government organization.

 We’ve recently published two articles you may  find of interest:

“When  You Say “Process,” You mean…?”

The Manager’s Role in Performance Support

In addition, we were pleased that partner Alan Ramias’ article The Mists of Six Sigma was recently selected as one of the “best of last 12 months” and republished by BPTrends as one of the best of last year.

We continue to make presentations as part of ISPI, Brainstorm/BPM Institute, DCI/Shared Insights and selected other conferences. Our most recent included:

  • Linking Individual Performance  to Organization Results – Geary Rummler’s ISPI Keynote Presentation
  • Designing the Process Centered Organization – Alan Ramias’ ISPI Presentation

The next conferences we’ll be speaking at are Proforma’s Vision 2006 Conference October 11 and BPM Institute’s Business Process Management Conference series:  November 7th & 8th in New York, NY.

Upcoming Workshops

Process Design & Management Workshop  – Our robust, practical and proven methodology for analyzing, designing and managing business processes. The next public session will be held in the first quarter of 2007. The dates and locations for all 2007 workshops will be available on our web  site shortly.

Organizations As Systems Workshop  – Our methodology for effectively defining an organization’s performance gaps and technology requirements. The workshop provides a comprehensive template for defining any organization, starting with an external view of market and environmental requirements and linking those requirements layer by layer down  through the organization’s Business Process Architecture to the enabling processes. The next public session will be held November 8th in conjunction with BPMInstitute’s Business Process Management Conference series in New  York, NY. Register through

Serious Performance Consulting Workshop  – Our straight forward and time-proven results improvement consulting methodology, developed over 35 years. A condensed  2-day version of the SPC workshop  will be conducted  through  ISPI. There will be two sessions: November:  November   14-15  and 16- 17  in Atlanta, GA. Register through ISPI.

What We’re Hearing

“Flat World” – We  have all read  Thomas  Friedman’s thought  provoking bestseller “The World is Flat” (ISBN-10:0-374-29288-4)   and  have begun  engaging  clients in conversations about the implications of the flat world on their industry and  business.  Implications we see include:

  • The need to design process architectures and processes that can take advantage  of the flat world.
  • Giving your Super-System  and  extended  value chain close scrutiny in search of opportunities in the flat world. 
  • The critical need to design management systems that are robust enough to manage outsourced processes and across organizations

We look forward to learning what you’re thinking, doing and hearing.  Give us a call or drop us a note.


Geary Rummler and his partners in the Lab