Creating the organization’s process management playbook
by Jonathan Sapir, on
In the future of work, employees must be empowered to operate at their full potential, and this requires a workplace that has freed itself of unnecessary and debilitating boundaries. It is only then that companies can hope to meet the business challenges of the fast-changing global economy.
– Cognizant, Future of work enabler: Worker Empowerment
A playbook is like an overall game plan in football. As in any sport, rather than trying to define all the ways the game will be played, you outline the properties and behaviors of the players and systems so they know how to behave when different “plays” come up. Things can be changed on the fly if necessary, and approvals, cooperation and exceptions are built into the process.
A playbook spells out the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for every participant, and lays out all the possible activities, paths, and resources.
The playbook contains:
Plays (processes) that can be executed in the pursuit of the game plan objective.
Individual actions (steps) that need to performed by each player (participant) within each play.
Individual players are responsible for executing their step in the play in a defined sequence.
Sometimes the play will break down due to unforeseen circumstances, in which case the players need to improvise. This improvisation may lead to a change in the play for when it is run in the future, or perhaps added as a new play that can be made part of a future game plan.
The benefits are obvious:
Breaking the game plan into plays provides the coach (process owner) great flexibility in planning and executing the game plan.
All team efforts are focused toward the team’s common goal.
Measurements are made on the common result – the one that counts.
The functional breakdown – quarterback, linebacker, safety – is subordinate to the common process.
Who fulfills the function doesn’t matter to the planning, and can be substituted at any time – like bringing in the backup quarterback when the primary quarterback gets carted off the field.
The plays allow for unique circumstances, like a hurry-up offense that requires the elimination of certain routine steps, or calling an audible to take advantage of situational opportunities or challenges.
If the framework provides a “rulebook” that will clearly spell out who does what, what everyone’s expectations for them are, and how the company defines acceptable behavior, it will be easy for everyone to follow. Essentially, you can tell employees, “How you do your job is not my concern as long as it gets done correctly.”