The following is a short interview with Succinctly series author Erica L. Quigley, whose new book, Business Process Flow Mapping Succinctly, was published last week. You can download this book from our ebook portal.
1. What should people know about the subject of your book? Why is it important?
In the book, I talk about business process management as well as project management. Both of those are so important to the core of a company, but not often recognized as such. Companies often cite workforce problems, including culture, low headcount, bad hires, and poor managers, but those are just symptoms of the lack of business process. Many problems that companies experience can be dug into to discover that the process beneath is broken and when it is fixed, their symptoms are relieved.
2. When did you first become interested in this subject?
In 2009, I worked at a manufacturing company. They were working on transforming their manufacturing process using Six Sigma tools and techniques. I participated in the workshops as the representative from the office side and the most interesting part of it to me was how simple most of it was. For example, there is a Lean Six Sigma tool called a spaghetti diagram. You take a floor layout of the manufacturing, fulfillment, and processing area and then you draw a line that follows the process. The result is what looks like a pile of spaghetti– and the purpose is to see how much redundancy there is in the movement.
This exercise made me wonder how our office process would look in a spaghetti diagram. Except, we weren’t always walking papers back and forth. We would send electronic requests and fill out paperwork in different systems. I decided to start digging into the business process using this idea to help understand where it could be reduced into fewer steps and automated.
3. By writing this e-book, did you learn anything new yourself?
Yes! The writing and editing process itself was very insightful for me because I learned how to break information down into really small chunks to help comprehension. I also went back and referred to some of my Lean Six Sigma and project management textbooks, which helped cement old knowledge for me.
4. How will this subject change over the next few years?
There are different theories for project management and various tools for process mapping. The main ideas for project management should remain consistent, but best practice seems to evolve along with company cultures, expectations, and workplace roles. As far as Microsoft Visio, I’m sure there will be updates to make it more user and marketing-friendly. There is so much visual communication now and Visio would be a great tool for companies to be able to harness and show their work on social media.
5. What other books or resources on this topic do you recommend?
Well, for those people who want to know EVERYTHING about project management best practices I recommend the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) by the Project Management Institute.
My background is in operations and supply chain, so with that in mind, I really enjoyed Lean Distribution: Applying Lean Manufacturing to Distribution, Logistics, and Supply Chain by Zylstra, Kirk D.
And also, along similar lines of company culture and process in communication, I really enjoy Patrick Lencioni books. In particular, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable the Four Disciplines at the Heart of Making Any Organization World Class is my favorite.
6. Do you have a blog page or a website where people can find you?
LinkedIn, where I share about business process, systems, and automation: linkedin.com/in/ericaq
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—where I share about life as a consultant and how others can find their path to self-employment: @ericaqbiz