Use PathMaker to Reengineer Business Processes

The tools of business process reengineering are pretty much the same as those of total quality management, or continuous improvement. The same basic thinking has to get done...creativity, logical analysis, data collection, decisions, meetings, reporting - all the functions that PathMaker supports so nicely.

Three years ago, reengineering was the hot management buzzword. Michael Hammer and James Champy, who popularized the reengineering concept, held that continuous improvement might not be radical enough. An unnecessary process doesn't need improvement, but rather eradication. Which is quite right.

Now, some of the luster has gone from reengineering - mostly since so many people have lost their jobs through so-called re-engineering efforts. In many cases, real re-engineering wasn't done - it was just a fancy name for layoffs. In other cases, re-engineering efforts lacked balance, or a proper regard for motivation, or for the long-term.

Reengineering is neither the answer to all our prayers, nor is it anathema. It is actually a useful way of thinking. We don't see this as fundamentally different from TQM, but there is a valuable new emphasis on fresh thinking, on evaluating the need for a process before trying to improve it, and a questioning of all assumptions.

PathMaker provides an effective template for reengineering processes. It starts with a slide show review of reengineering principles. It works through steps in which the process's right to exist is examined. The pathway leads through clear definitions of the goals of the process, flowcharting of a new process, trials, data collections and analysis, consensual decisions, and eventually to the standardization on a new process.

As with all PathMaker templates, you can use them as a model to build from, or you can build your own reengineering pathway from scratch.