Decluttering your business processes: Don’t overburden your organization and slow down your teams by hoarding old information

Everyone has that shed, cupboard or room in their home that has accumulated more junk than it reasonably should have. It’s filled with the detritus of unfinished projects, tools that have been replaced or retired, and those gadgets that seemed like a great purchase at the time, but were never used much. Nintex can help to manage your business processes.

The same can be true in an organization where old processes, outdated documents, and mismatched systems clutter the business and make it hard to excel. There’s never been a better time for spring cleaning, regardless of the season.

Old habits die hard

Most people get so used to clutter that they don’t notice it anymore. Old hands can find what they need because they helped build the tangle of redundant and obsolete information. But for everyone else, it’s an impenetrable jungle.

This becomes a business problem because we are, by nature, information hoarders. Throughout organizations, people tend to collect and store volumes of documentation and information that they’re reluctant to delete “just in case.”

All that information can become overwhelming. It gets in the way of effective process management because it prevents employees from readily and efficiently getting their hands on the right details of a process and how to execute it. Instead, projects and business teams are left to figure out for themselves which information they actually need, what to follow and where to find it.

What that approach leads to is the introduction of new materials, new systems, and niche procedures that are impossible to manage or control. Different departments begin to adopt custom approaches with little regard for what the rest of the organization does, and the clutter grows, making everything a little more opaque for the next team.

You know you’re a hoarder when…

One clear symptom of process clutter is when teams are scattering process-related documentation across a server or intranet. If staff are experiencing difficulty finding information about a process, it’s usually because there’s no clear place to look.

Instead of getting on with the task of executing or reviewing a process, they waste time trying to assemble the information on how and why, or “reinventing the wheel” to fill gaps in what they have uncovered.

The problem grows when you start accumulating duplicate documents, with different versions stored in different places. Teams may build a process from outdated materials or begin creating the procedure, only to find they have conflicting information on key steps.

Having poor control over the storage of and access to process-related information makes it less likely that the resulting processes will ever actually be employed. Instead of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of business activities, it creates more clutter.

The price of process clutter

Hoarded information that clutters an organization can bring real pain to the business. When staff can’t find crucial information they waste time and resources, reducing productivity and lowering the effectiveness of the very processes that were meant to add value.

This can impact a business’ reputation. Teams that constantly have to search for information will begin to get frustrated. When the details they do find are unclear, or out of date or incomplete, they will likely lose faith in the processes and stop looking. That can lead to increases in complaints and dissatisfied staff, as well as a gradual erosion of your brand value.

Spring cleaning your business processes

The key to eliminating clutter is creating a centralized process repository that provides teams with a single, clear point of reference. This provides an easy-to-comprehend and visually clear structure of all the relevant information, held in a unified, accessible location.

Your repository can’t be left to its own devices though, or it will just become another clutter in a very short time. Establishing good protocols around the planning, capturing and maintaining of processes needs to happen, and there needs to be an effective governance structure to keep the clutter from returning.

Promoting continuous improvement through healthy feedback loops and easy user-led updates ensures that the process repository remains relevant and reliable. As a single source of truth, it eliminates the mess of scattered information and fruitless searches for missing information.

A fresh start with processes improvement

Process clutter is the death knell for staff engagement and will stop processes improvement in its tracks. If left unchecked, it will grow and consume any effort to accelerate business efficiency or increase customer satisfaction. Over time that will become more and more detrimental as the clutter expands and the ability to function effectively is reduced.

The good news is that it’s never too late to make a change. Even the most jumbled workshop or cramped storage unit can be cleared with a disciplined approach and a vision of something better.

Embrace the opportunity to clean out the junk and take a measured, methodical approach to managing your business processes. Establish a well-designed process repository with detailed, up-to-date information that can be easily accessed and searched, and engage your teams in the practice of process improvement today.

 

 

Interested in a platform that can help you declutter and better manage your business processes? Request a free trial of Nintex Promapp today. 

 

 

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