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Business Process Improvement

Perhaps no other skill can yield such immediate results and payback than learning how to improve business processes. This course explores the need for a business process focus, the essential steps for process improvement, and the critical success factors for making the effort successful. It provides a practical framework for improving process and describes many tried and true process improvement concepts and techniques. Lastly, it provides valuable tips and techniques to introduce process changes effectively, to get the most from your process improvement effort. Presented in a methodology-neutral way, participants can easily apply the knowledge and skills to any environment, and use the techniques immediately upon leaving class

Learning Objectives

    • Describe the purpose, benefits, and critical issues of Business Process Improvement (BPI).
    • Name several critical success factors that lead to effective BPI, and describe how to utilize them.
    • List the essential components and steps of process analysis.
    • Employ industry-standard techniques for analyzing the root cause of process problems, such as Fishbone Diagrams, Pareto analysis, Inter-Relationship Diagrams, Value Stream Analysis, etc.
    • Discover appropriate metrics for analyzing business processes that provide sufficient insights into process effectiveness.
    • Use process maps to discover and analyze process problems.
    • Design new processes using lean techniques that eliminate waste and maximize business value, using three standard objectives to optimize process design.
    • Identify the parts of a process that give rise to functional requirements for projects that automate processes.
    • Discuss the importance of monitoring and managing processes.
    • Choose critical metrics for the ongoing monitoring of process performance and efficiency, including the use of Business Intelligence for monitoring and reporting.
    • Describe and develop a control plan to assure the continued effectiveness of processes.
    • Describe the components of an industry-standard Business Process Management framework and how BPI fits into it.
    • Identify process risks and how to mitigate them.
    • Discuss the interdependence of people, processes, and systems and how it relates to effective introduction of process changes.
    • Facilitate the introduction of process change in the organization, using accepted and practical techniques.
    • Describe how impact analysis can help to understand true cost of change when planning for change introduction.
    • Use effective motivation to increase your chances of success when introducing process changes.
    • Make consulting-like process recommendations that get adopted and accepted.

Who should attend

Process analysts, business analysts, project managers, business process owners, general business staff, and anyone who needs the skills to improve and/or manage business processes.


Experience or training in modeling or mapping business processes. The Watermark Learning course Business Process Modeling satisfies this prerequisite.

Format, Material and Duration

To help assimilate the tools and techniques learned, there is a mixture of individual and team exercises throughout the course. A lively role-play and case study help reinforce concepts learned. Students will need to be prepared for a high level of participation. Each participant will receive a comprehensive student guide complete with examples and workshop solutions.


2 Full days / 4 Half-days

Both our Traditional and Virtual classes use the same materials.
• Comprehensive study guide with PowerPoint slides and detailed notes to serve as both an in-class guide and on-the-job reference.
• Example case study running throughout the course.
• A second workshop case study designed to give practice in applying business case skills.
• Workshop solutions that serve as an example business case.
• Comprehensive business case template to use on the job to jump-start your real-life business cases.
• Class discussions and exercises to reinforce the information presented.

Course Outline

    Business Process Improvement (BPI) Foundation
    • Discussion: Challenges of Inefficient or “Poor” Processes
    • Challenges of Improving Processes
    • Brief history of Process Improvement Movements
    • The Case for Business Process Improvement
    o Today’s Marketplace – What Has Changed?
    o Current Organizational Realities
    • Three types of Business Activity
    • Formula for Process Improvement
    • Discussion: What is the potential Impact of Process Improvements? What is the cost of Process Improvements?
    • Process Improvement Impact Illustrations
    • Justifying the Cost of Business Process Improvement
    • Cost of Quality Rule
    • Benefits of Process Improvement
    • Why Seek Process Standardization
    • Definition: Precision versus Accuracy
    • Continuous Process Improvement
    • BPI Critical Success Factors (CSF’s)
    • Exercise
    • Framework for Business Process Management (BPM)
    • The Net Positive Effect of Applying BPM Layers
    • How BPI fits into BPM – Modeling, Analysis, Design, Transformation and Performance Measurement
    o Business Process Modeling Review
    o Business Process Analysis Review
    o Business Process Design Review
    o Business Process Transformation Review
    o Business Process Performance Management Review
    • Common Principles and Steps of Multiple PI Disciplines
    • Introduction to Case Study and Workshop
    • Steps to Business Process Improvement
    • What Makes a Good Problem Statement? A Poor Problem Statement?
    • Problem Statements – Purpose and Elements
    • Problem Statements – Examples
    • Ineffective Problem Statements
    • Describe the Problem
    • Process Science
    • Process Components
    • General Examples – Problem Statements
    • Workshop
    • Discussion: What is analysis? What is measurement? How do they contribute to process improvement?
    • The Iterative Nature of Analysis and Metrics
    • Analysis and Metrics Enable Problem Spotting
    • Discussion: Why Measure?
    • Measurement Usage
    • Process Science?
    • Benefits of measurements
    • Workshop
    • Metrics/Measurements – Key Components (basic definitions, data, variation, data collection plan)
    • Definition of data types – attribute and variable
    • Understanding Variation
    o Sources of Variation
    o Types of Variation
    o Six Sigma Quality
    • Data – Why is it Necessary?
    • Data Collection – What and Why?
    o Three levels of Data Collection
    o Purpose of a Data Collection Plan
    o Existing versus New
    o Why Develop Data Collection Tools
    o General Examples – Checksheets, Sampling
    • Metrics components: Understand, Measure, Display, and Manage
    • Metrics best practices – Balanced Scorecard, Dashboards
    • What do we measure to shed light on process effectiveness?
    • Measurement considerations and techniques
    • Metrics - The Good
    • Metrics – The Bad
    • Workshop
    • An Analysis Analogy
    • A Case for Analysis - Why Analyze?
    • It’s Typically Not a People Problem
    • Three Key areas of Analysis: Data, Process and Root Cause
    • Analysis Key Concepts
    • Analysis Steps
    o Exploration
    o Generating Hypothesis
    o Verifying Root Cause(s)
    • Analysis Challenges
    • Roller Coaster-like Performance
    • Point of Diminishing Returns
    • Non-Linear Performance
    • Lack of Clarity
    • Hidden Motives
    • Examining Presuppositions
    • Understanding the “Would”, the “Could”, and the “Should”
    • The use of Causation and Correlation
    • Three Lenses: People, Process, or Technology
    • Analysis Tools / Techniques
    o Process Analysis
    o Pareto Analysis
    o Scatter Diagrams, Run Charts, Histograms, Box Plots
    o “Rolled Throughput Yield” for a Given Process
    o Touch Time versus Elapsed Time for a Given Value Stream (Castle Steps)
    • Workshop
    Business Process Design
    • A Case for Design
    • Process Design Principles
    o Power to the People
    o Static versus Dynamic Design
    o Designing Out Ambiguity
    o Lean Techniques Applied
    o One Page Procedures
    o Prototyping
    • Three Objectives of Process Design: Optimize Time, Optimize Quality, and Optimize Process Output Value
    • Time optimization Techniques
    • Exercise
    • Quality Optimization Techniques
    • Exercise
    • Value Optimization Techniques
    • Exercise
    • Common Design Flaws
    • Business Rules
    • Workshop
    Transformation Processes
    • Case Study Discussion
    • Transformation Philosophies
    • Exercise
    • Identify and Address Obstacles
    • Organizational Change Management Curve
    • Motivation – What makes people tick?
    • Change Tools and Methods
    • Results from BPI as Inputs to Projects and Requirements
    • Importance and Components of a Control Plan
    • Consulting Tips: Best Ways to Recommend Change
    • Adapting presentation to audience
    • Use of an A3
    • Workshop

Certification and Exam


You will receive a certificate of participation.



Learning Options

Find a training that fits your needs and schedule

Self-paced e-learning

Instructor-led Live Online Training

Corporate Training

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