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Business Process Improvement Glossary

Business Process Improvement Glossary
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Business Process Improvement Glossary

Business Process Improvement Glossary: A-Z of key terms and concepts from “Affinity Diagram” to “Value Stream Mapping,” empowered Digital Business.

A-B Business Process Improvement Glossary

Action Plan: agreed-upon set of actions or tactics used to achieve objectives. Here is how to write an Action Plan, and an Action Plan Template from the University of Illinois.

Active Listening: a method used to listen and respond to others in a structured and deliberate way. It requires a listener to understand and actively evaluate what he or she heard.

Activity Diagram: is used to model process actions (or behaviors) performed by the components of a business process or IT system, to document the order in which the actions take place, and the conditions that coordinate the actions in a specific order. Activity diagrams use swim lanes to group actions together. Here is how to create an Activity Diagram in Visio and an Example from Vengage.

Affinity Diagram: process organizes information onto cards and creatively groups them. Header cards then summarize each group.

Alternative Flow: outlines a use case scenario different from the basic flow, resulting in a user achieving their goal. This is often considered an optional flow, implying that the user chooses an alternative path.

Analysis: Involves examining facts and data to form the basis for effective decision-making.

As Is Business Process: Mapping of Current State Business Process. Understand current state to move to future state. Here are Basics of Documenting and Analyzing As-Is Process- Lucidchart Blog

Balanced Scorecard:  provides a comprehensive overview of how a company is performing currently. Here is How the Balanced Scorecard is managed, with template and example.

Benchmarking: technique measures performance against best-in-class companies, determining how they achieved their performance levels, and using that information for improvement.

Bottleneck: Sticking point in process due to general process breakdowns, confusions, complexity, throughput limitations, resource capacity. Anything that inhibits production.

Business Process Mining Software: Analytical Tools used in business process improvement to understand current process from mining software to crawl and quantify process variations, breakdowns and bottlenecks are.

Business Process Model Notation: BPMN is a global standard for modeling business processes improvement standards along with triple crown of case management model notation (CMMN) and decision model notation (DMN).

C- Business Process Improvement Glossary

Change Impact: Articulates the impacted workgroups, processes and granularity between as is and to be states to identify what roles and responsibilities will change. Where are you now. Where are you headed in the future. Best Change Impact Assessment – Guide, Samples, Template – OCM Solution

Charter: Team document that defines the context, specifics, and plans of an improvement project. It includes a business case, problem and goal statements, constraints and assumptions, roles, preliminary plan, and scope.

Class Diagram: describes the structure of a system, detailing the classes, their attributes, operations, and relationships.

Communication Diagram: model illustrates objects or parts of a system, the interactions (or messages) between them, and the sequence in which these interactions occur.

Communication Plan: guide for communication and sponsorship efforts throughout the project’s duration, explaining how to convey the right message, from the right communicator to the right audience, through the right channel, at the right time.

Constraint: A point in a process that acts as a limiting factor, preventing a system from achieving its goals. There are three primary types: equipment, people, and policy constraints.

Context Diagram: It represents an entire system as a single process and highlights interactions between the system being analyzed and other systems or people that interact with it.

Continuous Improvement: This involves ongoing enhancement of products, services, or processes through incremental and breakthrough improvements.

Convergent Thinking: It involves focusing on a few sets of ideas and evaluating them based on selection criteria to narrow down available options.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: This is a technique used to determine if the financial benefits of a project outweigh the associated cost of undertaking it.

Current State Process Map: It describes the current flow of work, serving as the basis for process improvement analysis.

Customer: The customer is the recipient of a product, service, information, or other input.

Cycle Time: This is the amount of time required to complete a job or a step of a process.

D- Business Process Improvement Glossary

Dashboard: data visualization resource that displays the current status of metrics and performance indicators for an organization. Here is an example: CIO Dashboard: Run IT Like a Business – ServiceNow Blog

Database View: a stored query that returns data from one or more database tables. Microsoft Support offers a range of inventory, project management, and issue tracking templates for Access. Database Views

Data Flows

Here is video instructions on how to create a data flow diagram in Microsoft Visio

Data Flow Diagram: It models the system as a network of functional processes and its data.

  • Lucidchart offers a detailed example of a data flow diagram (logical) that can be customized to your use case.
  • FigJam provides a free data flow diagram example that can be customized to fit your system.

Decision Tree and Table

Decision Table: Technique provides an unambiguous and compact way to model complicated logic using several sets of conditions in a tabular format.

Decision Tree: It graphically represents a series of decision points with branching occurring at each decision point, forming a tree-like structure.

Defect: involves the effort of inspecting for and fixing errors and mistakes.

Digital Transformation: integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. 

Divergent Thinking: ideation process of generating ideas that branch out from an original topic or concept. 15 Divergent Thinking Examples (2023)- helpfulprofessor

DMADV (Define—Measure—Analyze—Design—Verify) for a new process or design goals. Measure. Measure and identify critical-to-quality characteristics of the product, service or process. This includes risk and production capabilities.

DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control): This is an abbreviation for a data-driven improvement cycle used for improving, optimizing, and stabilizing business processes and designs.

E-F- Business Process Improvement Glossary

Efficiency: the ability to accomplish a task with a minimum of wasted time, effort, or resources.

End to End Process Workflows: Big picture optimization of end to end process handoffs between people, tools, processes in the ecosystem.

Enterprise Architecture: It is the blueprint that defines an organization’s structure and operation in terms of processes and technology.

Enterprise Analysis: This describes the business analysis activities required to compare the needs of the business against the current capabilities of the business and identify opportunities for improvement.

Entity Relationship Diagram: This type of diagram models the relationships between entities in a database.

Exception Flow: This is a use case exception flow, representing an unintended path through the system usually as a result of missing information or system availability problems.

Extra Processing: steps that do not add value to the product or service.

Fact Model: a static model documenting the entities or things that a business or business process uses and interacts with to accomplish its goals.

Future State Process Map: symbolic representation of a future vision for an improved workstream.Future State Process Map Powerpoint (slideteam.net)

G-L- Business Process Improvement Glossary

Gantt Chart: It is a project planning and management tool that displays all the tasks or activities associated with a project or initiative. Gantt Chart Template (Free Excel Download) (projectmanager.com)

Gap Analysis: It involves comparing two different states often current state and the future state to understand, articulate, prioritize gaps and differences. Gap Analysis Template for Excel (Free Download) – ProjectManager

Handoff: This occurs anytime in a process when one person or group passes an item moving through the process to another person.

Inventory/Storage: This refers to the unnecessary storage of information and materials or providing more information or materials than are needed.

Just-In-Time (JIT): This is a system of production that provides what is needed only when it is needed.

Key Performance Indicators: what are the measures that let us know that this is broken, or working. Consider performance measures to define the actual measures that can be done today, and what those future numbers need to look like.

Lean: Lean is a philosophy and approach for process improvement that focuses on identifying.

M-O- Business Process Improvement Glossary

Measures of Success: These are the criteria, metrics, or means by which a comparison is made with output.

Milestone: It marks the end of a stage that signifies the completion of a work package or phase.

Model-Based-Management: This involves the activity of managing and making informed decisions based on information gleaned and understood from models.

Motion: This refers to the unnecessary movement of staff, resources, or equipment that takes up time and uses energy but doesn’t add value.

Non-utilized Staff Talent: This occurs when an organization is not adequately leveraging people’s skills, creativity, and talents.

Non-value-adding activities: These are any steps in a process that do not add value to the customer or process.

Output: This refers to the result or product of a process.

Outcome: This is the broader impact or result of a process.

P- Business Process Improvement Glossary

PDCA Method (Plan, Do, Check, Act): a 4-step, iterative method used for Business Process Improvement. Here is a PDCA Cycle Example | Free PDCA Template- FigJam (figma.com)

Pilot: Trial implementation of a solution on a limited scale to ensure its effectiveness and test its impact. 10 Best Pilot Project Templates to Evaluate the Feasibility of Your Idea [Free PDF Attached] (slideteam.net)

Primary Actor: This is the person or entity that initiates the use cases or processes.

Problem Statement: a statement of concern, a condition to be improved upon, a difficulty to be eliminated, or a troubling question that exists in theory or in practice that points to the need for meaningful understanding and deliberate investigation. Speak to top management and ask inputs on any possible revenue leaks/overhead costs. Draft a SMART problem statement SMART – Smart, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Examples and Templates.

Process Improvement

Here is an introduction of 2 methodologies, Kaizen and Six Sigma Business Process Improvement

Process improvement: approach focuses on incremental changes to eliminate or reduce defects, costs, or cycle time.

Process Mapping: This is an illustrated description of how things get done.

Process Owner: This is the responsible individual for a specific process.

Process Reengineering: defines what processes are to be looked at. What is broken that must be improved. People, Tools, Process, Technology best practice opportunities.

Project Management: It involves the process of organizing and managing resources to complete a project to specification.

Project Sponsor: This is a member of the executive committee who advocates for the project.

Pull System: This is a customer-driven system that produces and moves products/services only when the customer needs it.

Push System: This is a system that produces and moves products/services without regard for the actual pace of customer demand.

Overproduction: producing more products or services than the customer needs.

Quality Assurance: This involves the process of establishing a process that is capable of producing a product or deliverable that is error or defect-free.

Quality Control: This involves checking a final product or deliverable to ensure that it is defect or error-free.

R- Business Process Improvement Glossary

RACI Matrix: A project management tool that identifies all required tasks or activities and what parties are involved in those tasks.

Random Sampling: A method that allows each item or person chosen to be measured to be selected completely by chance.

Requirement: A documented representation of a condition or capability needed by a stakeholder to solve a problem or achieve an objective.

Requirements Analysis: The activities and methods used to analyze stated requirements and transform them into a potential solution.

Requirements Management and Communication: Managing and articulating requirements to stakeholders.

Risk Management: Thinking ahead and preparing for potential problems that may go wrong.

Role: A related set of activities that a single person may undertake to complete a process or goal.

Root Cause Analysis: A structured approach to identifying specific factors or actions that result in undesired outcomes.

S- Business Process Improvement Glossary

Scope: Defines the boundaries of the process; clarifies specifically where the start and end points for improvement reside.

Secondary Actor: A person, business processes, or applications that provide a specific result or information to a use case.

Sequence Diagram: A diagram that depicts interactions among various application components or participants over time.

SIPOC Diagram: A tool that outlines the scope of a process improvement initiative.

Six Sigma: process improvement methodology structured into 5 phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control for existing process and DMADV for New processes.

SMART Goals: Goals which satisfy the SMART framework: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Solution Assessment and Validation: Determining how closely a solution meets the original stakeholder and solution requirements.

Solution Statement: A clear description of the proposed solution(s).

Stakeholder: Any individual, group, or organization significantly impacted by the quality of a specific product or service.

Stakeholder Analysis: The process of identifying project stakeholders and understanding how their needs may impact the project.

Standard Work: A method of doing critical tasks in a process that is documented, consistently followed, and currently believed to be the best way to do the work.

Systems Thinking: The process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole.

SWOT Analysis: A strategic planning technique used to assess internal and external environmental factors.

T-Z Business Process Improvement Glossary

To Be Process: Future State Process definition and process flow for future operations. How are you going to implement changes in the future to enable that solution.

Tollgate: A review session that determines whether activities up to that point in a project have been satisfactorily completed.

Transportation: Time in a process to move products, equipment, materials, information, or people from one place to another.

Use Case Diagram: A diagram that provides details of the functionality that the system will support. 10 Use Case Diagram Examples (and How to Create Them) – Venngage

User Story: A high-level requirement containing just enough information to help the team produce a reasonable sizing for the requirement. User Stories | Examples and Template | Atlassian

Value Adding Activities: Steps/tasks in a process that meet all three criteria defining value from the customer’s perspective.

Value Stream Map: A visual map of workflow from beginning to end, which produces an outcome or product. Microsoft has a Template (Example)

Variance: A change in a process or business practice that may alter its expected outcome.

Other Resources

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