DIY Process Assessment Wrap-up – Constructing the Report and Presenting the Results

This is the concluding post on the DIY Process Assessment series. In the previous posts, we went from lining up the approaches and resources, planning various aspects of the assessment, running the assessment and collecting the data, and eventually making sense of the data collected. The last major steps are to write up the report and present the results to the stakeholders.

Writing up the Report

The final report should summarize the assessment effort, provide solid findings on the current maturity level, and suggest both near-term and long-term actions for improvement. Generally, the assessment report will contain the following elements:

  • Executive Summary
    • Short summary of project background and problem definition
    • Brief description of the assessment methodology used
    • Summary of maturity scores for each process assessed
    • Discussion on the integration between processes and other comparative benchmark information
    • Project Scope – mention the processes and organization units covered under the assessment
    • Overall conclusion, recommendations, and next steps
      • Did the conclusions appear to be logically drawn based on data gathered?
      • Did the results confirm the perceived problem?
      • Are the recommendations aligned logically with the conclusions?
      • A roadmap showing the sequence of actions and dependencies between actions
      • Analysis of the Processes (for each process)
        • Scores or maturity levels by processes
        • Process goals, intended outcomes, and perceived importance
        • Process specific conclusions and recommendations
        • Organizational Considerations
          • Any noteworthy factors encountered during the assessment that could provide more insight or context on the conclusions
          • Any other organization related factors that should be taken into account when implementing the recommendations or actions

Presenting the Results

When presenting the results, keep the following suggestions in mind.

  • Depending on your organization, you may use different types of meetings or communication vehicles to present the results. At a minimum, I feel the project sponsor should host at least one presentation with all assessment participants and senior leadership team.
  • Hold additional meetings with the process owners to discuss the results and to identify quick-wins or other improvement opportunities.
  • Anticipate questions and how to address them, especially the ones that could be considered emotional or sensitive due to organization politics or other considerations.

It took seven posts in total to cover this process assessment topic, and I feel we have only covered this subject at a somewhat rudimentary level. There are more things to drill down in-depth, but everything we have covered so far will make a very good starting point. As you can see from the steps involved, the assessment is not a trivial effort. Before you go off and start planning the next assessment, some people might ask one important question “why bother?” I can think of a few good reasons for taking the time to plan and to do the assessment.

  1. Most organizations do not have the processes at a minimally effective level they need to support their business or operations. They want to fix or improve those processes, and a process assessment effort can help to identify where things might be broken and need attention. The problem definition is a key area to spend some effort on.
  2. Many organizations undertake process improvement projects and need some ways to measure progress. Process assessment helps not only for establishing the initial benchmarks but also for providing subsequent benchmarks that can be used to calculate the progress. A lot of us do measurements by gut-feel. Intuition and gut-feel can be right sometimes about these things but having the more concrete measurement is much better.
  3. Along the same line of reasoning for having the concrete measurement, I cannot think of another better way to show evidence of process improvement or ROI to your management or project sponsor than with formal assessment. Many people do process improvement initiatives via a grass-root or informal effort with internal funding due to organizational realities. At some point, you may find yourself needing to go to management and ask for real budget for time, people, and tools. Having a structured approach to show the potential contributions or ROI down the road can only help out your cause.

In conclusion, process assessment can be an effective way to understand where your process pain points are, how to address those pain points, and how far your organization has come along in term of improvement. All meaningful measurements usually take two or more data points to calculate the delta. Conducting process assessment periodically can provide the data points you need to measure your own effectiveness and to justify further improvement work.

Links to other posts in the series

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