Soafrica Part 1 – The Process. We recently traveled to the IIBA Business Analysis Summit Southern Africa, and were exposed to several different “systems” as we traveled from Minneapolis to Cape Town: the TSA in the US, airlines, security in Amsterdam, and yet a different airline. They all manage to get the job done, but with different processes it seems. Not in terms of what is accomplished, mind you. The TSA and the Netherlands security both have the same goal of stopping terrorists from entering an airplane. The two airlines we flew on also had the same purpose to their processes – boarding people onto the plane and then landing us safely.

It seems it’s the little things that matter in a process, at least from an outsider’s perspective. For customer-facing processes, how a process is executed is important. I’m guessing most business and government agencies care more about the what of the process. We need to make sure the job gets done or we go out of business, right?

By also focusing on the how, an organization can start to excel at its processes and outshine the competition. By optimizing a process not only for efficiency and “value add” shouldn’t we also optimize on the “value-add” of the customer’s perception and satisfaction? I believe by doing so it elevates a good process into an excellent one.

For example, one of the airlines didn’t board by zone like so many in the US. They boarded all business class and frequent fliers together. It also had no semblance of a line that I could see, and the huge throng of people by the gate made it look like a scrum. (The rugby kind, not agile.) People eventually all boarded and we took off on time, but the disorganized way of boarding was not pleasant. Maybe it’s what we get used to in a process, but all the same, this “little thing” about a common process made me a slightly unhappy customer for a time. The important thing is we landed in Cape Town on time and safely.

At any rate, it’s a good reminder to look for value in a process in what the customer experiences. Hmmm, there are a few things in our own training business that come to mind that we could improve on!

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