At their best, business processes help establish and manage expectations of all parties by explicitly documenting and stating the sequence of events in a business process, the responsibilities of each party involved in the process, the quality of work that should be achieved before exchanging it, and how to handle problems that arise.
In other words, business processes state what each party involved in a business process should provide, what they can expect to receive (as well as when to expect to receive it and how the work will be delivered), and what to do when expectations are not met.
For example, having a formal process for handling changes reduces the anxiety of many technical communicators, who worry that they might need to unnecessarily rewrite entire topics and chapters because a developer had a brainstorm about a better way to communicate an idea.
Similarly, formally documenting the quality of work that one group needs to provide to another reduces the anxiety of many production personnel, who often receive incomplete drafts that require types of work that the production staff has neither the time nor expertise to complete. Business processes usually let production staffs return the work to the designer(s) or communicator(s). But when doing so, the production staffs can identify the specific changes that the designer(s) or communicator(s) must make so the production staff can begin work on it.
In addition, having a documented business process, along with a documented level of acceptable quality, organizations have the basis for estimating the time needed to complete work and its cost: that is, for preparing schedules and budgets.
As well, business processes provide a basis for improving operations. Participants in the process can analyze it to identify ways to perform the process more effectively and efficiently, and can recommend specific changes that will do so. A review like this is called business process improvement.
© Copyright 2012. Saul Carliner. All rights reserved. If sharing or excerpting, should be properly cited.