MMAP Your Processes

This week I am going tactical with an approach I have found very helpful in creating continually improving business systems.  As a Master Black Belt, I have seen numerous high profile, high impact performance improvement initiatives.  Many of them achieved great things, delivered ROI, and enhanced careers.  Far too often though, these business systems that rose to high performance slipped backward over time into a state of disarray and poor performance.  Alternatively, they sometimes maintain initially achieved performance levels, but do not continue to evolve.  MMAPing your process is a simple guide you can use to establish a process management framework ensuring long term continuous of any business system.

No, MMAP is not a typo.  It stands for Measurement system, Metrics, Accountability, and Process.  I tell the Lean Six Sigma Black Belts I mentor to “MMAP the control phase of your project and MMAP your processes or I will not sign off on your final toll-gate.”  This is a simple approach that any business person can apply, Lean Six Sigma Certification not required.

MMAP Defined

Measurement System:  How will the inputs, operating parameters, outputs, and outcomes of the process be measured?  Ideally it will be part of an automated enterprise measurement system.  However, it can be localized or even manual recording in MS Excel.  Either way, there should be clear definition of what is measured, how it is measured, why it is measured, standardized analysis such as control charts, and definition of how to calculate values.

Metrics: The performance thresholds, control limits, acceptable values, and other specific mathematical targets the measurement system is measuring.  These metrics must be represented within reports generated by the measurement system.

Accountability: Who is accountable for the continuous improvement of the process or business system.  Who ensures the measurement system works, the metrics are relevant and accurate, who analyses the data and reports, who stewards the process to improvement when data indicates change is required?

Process:  What is the process for conducting analysis, proposing change, vetting, approving, implementing improvements, and verifying outcomes?  Examples include the Deming Cycle (Plan Do Check Act) and the Six Sigma (DMAIC) – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control.

In government and some large businesses, one can add a second P to MMAPP the process.  This second P is for Policy.  In this case, we ask has policy been updated to ensure the MMAP will be enduring and enforced over time.

It has been my experience that even very expensive Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training often under emphasizes the importance of a solid approach to ongoing control of processes.  Much time is spent on how to define  and analyze processes.  Further, the tools of how to measure process performance are typically explained well.  However, the method for tying it all together in the control phase is often missing.  I have found this simple approach very useful in providing structure to continual process management.  I hope you find it useful in your process improvement endeavors.

“Processes do not manage themselves”

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