Starting a career in Process Excellence - putting the jigsaw pieces together

Andrina Janning

“What a year this has been!” That is how I wanted to start this but then I realised it has now actually been 1.5 years! How time flies. I joined Sysdoc as a Junior Consultant just a few weeks before lockdown hit. I experienced all sorts of challenges of the remote onboarding process such as not being able to shadow colleagues or learn by observing. Still, during my first year (and a half), I was able to learn a lot. I like to describe my learnings and takeaways as jigsaw puzzle pieces and there are quite a few puzzle pieces I was able to collect. They might not all make sense in the first place, but I know they will eventually. The learning never stops.

Why have I joined Sysdoc’s Process Excellence capability?

I joined Sysdoc’s Process Excellence capability because I have always been focused on getting to the bottom of things and I hate scratching the surface – in both my private life and my professional life. What I love most about process work is that the focus is set on addressing the root cause of a problem rather than finding solutions to symptoms. Therefore, to me, it has always been clear that I want to work in process management.

To be honest: Gathering and analysing data, mapping processes, and rethinking and redesigning workflows does not always sound like the most interesting thing in the world. And to be completely honest: Sometimes, you need some motivation to break through the wall of process management, but once you break through it, I can tell you it is very satisfying! I find process work fascinating. One of my favourite quotes is from the designer James Eames: “Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” Business processes are connected to each other – the key to designing successful processes is in the connections.

A good friend of mine once said: “You are a human continuous improvement process.” Weirdly, for me, this is one of the best compliments I have ever received! So, what does that say about me? Creating a culture of continuous improvement, innovation and sustainability is key to driving effectiveness and efficiency – not just within an organisation.

My first project with Sysdoc was also Sysdoc’s first entirely remote consulting project. Working with one of the leading global data and analytics company, the Sysdoc team carefully documented their Finance processes. We captured more than 150 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which served as primary training documents for their shared service centres around the world. Through remote workshops, we captured intrinsic knowledge from experts and made it accessible, elevating our client’s procedures from being undefined and unstructured to being tangible, transferrable, and relevant. Having your SOPs captured ensures standardisation, enabling business operations to be performed correctly, the first time even on a global scale.

Brief digression

For those who don’t know what a SOP is: A SOP is a set of written instructions that describes how to perform a task or activity. SOPs are in-depth rules, which can be followed by anyone. They are efficient, precise to the point and, therefore, leave very little ambiguity around what and how a task needs to be completed. For those who already knew: I hope I could refresh your knowledge.

My current client is a global leader in sustainable technologies. The Sysdoc team is working on a global SAP deployment project, unifying and standardising business processes across the different business areas. We modularise existing material for targeted learning and make it easily accessible, maintainable, digestible, and appropriate for end-users. Our material provides context, background, and business-critical information.

This is the first time for me working in the training space. To get back to my jigsaw puzzle as this project has been an essential piece: It is interesting to see what happens after the process work is completed. Over the past months, I learned how strong a link there is between training and process management. All the material we create is based on business process documentation. Depending on the quality of the process work, a project stands or falls. One of my key takeaways: Clearly defined, effective and efficient business processes are the backbone of a successful business and vital to maintaining an organisation’s competitive edge.

Another of my key takeaways is also related to my favourite quotes from the author Thomas Berger: "The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge." Often, we assume we already know the answers, based on our knowledge and previous experiences. And this is precisely why we need to ask lots of questions, and even more important: To ask the right questions. Only if you ask questions you get answers (and data). So, keep asking and questioning!

I learned and experienced how well integrated Sysdoc’s capabilities Learning Innovation and Process Excellence are. They work together like gear wheels.

All these elements now start to come together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, creating a bigger picture. I know that there are still countless pieces to collect. Learning is a lifelong process and I am in the early stages of my career. I am excited to seek, collect, organise, store and maintain many more jigsaw puzzle pieces and about everything that is coming.

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