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Three main practices in process improvement and two comments

“Processes are collections of activities that, taken together, produce outputs for customers” (See my post of July 13, 2008: processes pulled together with 26 references.).

This broad definition comes from the Acad. Mgt. Rev., April 2003, at 240. Continuing, it adds that “Process management entails three main practices: mapping processes, improving processes, and adhering to systems of improved processes.” I have written about process mapping (See my post of April 9, 2009 #2: process maps with 6 references.) as well as about process improvements (See my post of July 31, 2009: process improvements with 3 references and 5 metaposts.).

Two other points from the quote deserve mention. “Among other things, process improvement involves streamlining the handoffs between processes.” This step looks at inputs from clients and quasi-legal groups (See my post of Sept. 3, 2008: typical oversight areas of legal departments; July 31, 2009: garnishment; and Oct. 16, 2009: legalistic units.) and the entire, end-to-end process. For example, what happens to a contract after legal reviews it?

Second, “Process management programs also stress ongoing adherence to the resulting map to an improved process.” Other than normal supervision and training, it is unclear to me what efforts people in legal departments make to assure adherence to proper processes.