What about this “process management” business?

May 29, 2011

I batted around several different concepts before settling on “process management” as the primary consulting skill I offer organizations and teams. According to Wikipedia, it is “the ensemble of activities of planning and monitoring the performance of a process.” Huh? I doubt this vague definition helps anyone get a better sense of what the vague term means. No wonder the Dilbert cartoon came to be! This might help: “process management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, techniques and systems to define, visualize, measure, control, report and improve processes” in order to achieve goals and results.

No? Alright, so what does it mean to me?

I began with the assumption that my strong point is project management, “the discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives” (again, Wikipedia). This has been my primary work for the past decade, and I understand from A to Z, how to go about strategizing, developing, managing, implementing, and evaluating projects. Yet, as a coach and consultant, I don’t offer a service to manage organization’s projects—that would mean a temporary taking over of a leadership role, and bringing the right answers to the table. Now, with my focus on coaching skills, what I bring is an oversight of how a variety of processes can be guided, including the right questions, so that the team has ownership and gained skills to engage in project management themselves. My strength now lies in helping others grow from their strengths and learn to get from A to Z eventually on their own.

There are a variety of processes that teams go through. Often, this involves change, or a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. Change isn’t always easy, but can be a positive experience as long as team members are empowered to accept, embrace, and feel in control to the degree possible.  (See “Services / Added Value” page for examples of the types of process management guidance I provide.)

Cara Crisler
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