Assessing Reengineering Results

This is the final article in a three-article series summarizing the GAO Business Process Reengineering Assessment Guide. This article is intended to provide a summary of the framework provided by GAO for implementing new processes and assessing results.

Some Federal Government Agencies employ business process reengineering on a regular basis. In fact, the Department of Defense (DoD) is required to determine whether appropriate business process reengineering (BPR) has been completed prior to business system modernizations in excess of $1M. The DoD has published DoD Business Process Reengineering Assessment Guidance as an internal guide to evaluate BPR efforts as part of the Agency’s investment review process.

Of course, business process reengineering efforts are of little value if real productivity gains are not realized. Along with measuring performance data, attention should be given to the human dimensions of change management activities, which are frequently the greatest challenges to successful process implementation. Below are guidelines for successful implementation and assessment of reengineered processes:

New Process Implementation

Develop a Transition Plan and Team – An implementation plan is critical in order to plan for and address issues such as change management, tasks, training requirements and milestones. The implementation team should be primarily responsible for creating the plan. The team should include key executives who can show support for the new process and help to resolve any obstacles that arise.

Plan for Employee Training and Redeployment – For processes which incorporate new information systems or other new tasks, significant planning may be required for training and development of employees. If positions are eliminated or assigned to other locations, consideration needs to be given to coordination with other locations, employee unions and outplacement assistance, if needed.

Conduct Pilot Testing – The use of pilot testing and the length of one or more pilot tests is dependent upon the complexity of the new process being implemented. The benefits of pilot testing include the ability to identify and correct any problems that arise in live applications. Pilot testing will also help to build support for the new processes.

Change Management

Refine and Implement the Transition Plan – The team should continue to develop details concerning the change management activities in the transition plan. The plan should be updated with specific tasks, responsibilities for those tasks, and timelines. The team should also plan for periodic assessments of employee input.

Provide Senior Management Support – Continued support from senior management is critical to overcome change management barriers. Management should reiterate the change drivers that led to business process reengineering efforts and remind employees why change is necessary to achieve agency goals. A clear commitment to see the new process work and assist employees through the transition is imperative.

Assist Employees in New Roles – Management must assist employees in the transition to new roles and responsibilities. Consider needed changes to managerial structure, performance reviews and necessary training. Managers themselves must be sure they are fully accepting of their new roles, especially if employees take on more responsibility and decision-making.

Measuring Performance

Gather Performance Data – The transition team should identify the data needed to measure the performance of the reengineered process. Measurements should include those related to outcome (overall process results), output (products or services produced), and efficiency (cost and time).

Compare Measures to Planned Performance – The performance measures should be compared to the planned performance goals for the new process as outlined in the documented business case. Although the process may not yet be fully implemented, the agency should start to realize some performance gains and meet intermediate goals.

Continuous Improvement – Agencies should use performance measures to periodically assess the process for opportunities for further improvement.

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