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BPRLite Process and Guidance

Introduction
Organisations rely on processes to carry out their business. Processes can be large or small, from
registering 5000 new students to booking a meeting.
When presented with an overburdened or inefficient process its tempting to throw more resource at
the problem; be that staff time or investment in new systems. Carrying out a business process review
(BPR) enables organisations to review their processes with the aim of running their businesses more
efficiently and effectively.
A business process review should deliver an understanding of how a process is currently performed,
the technology/systems that support the process and the people involved. A review should also help
to highlight problem areas and opportunities for change. Put simply, what are you trying to do? how
are you doing it? what does and doesnt work? how it might be done better?
Several successful business process reviews have already taken place in CiCS. To assist others in
carrying out smaller process reviews we have created the BPRLite Toolkit. This toolkit contains
guidance and templates suitable for smaller, informal process reviews.
It is designed for CiCS use but will be very easily modified for use elsewhere.

Process
The following documents support the process:
BPRLite Process and Guidance (this document)
Template - BPRLite Proposal and Definition
Template - BPRLite Report
Template - BPRLite Proposals for Change
Note: It is recommended that the templates are used so that all the essential information is captured in
a format that is familiar to those approving, carrying out and acting upon business process reviews.

1. Proposal Template - BPRLite Proposal and Definition


The proposal can be filled in by any member of CiCS and should outline the process to be reviewed
and why the process warrants a review.
The proposal should be submitted to the line manager and/or section head responsible for a process.
CiCS supports a wide variety of services and functions and so many processes are cross cutting;
where it is not obvious who owns a process then it is recommended that the proposal be submitted to
the CiCS Executive.
If approved then a sponsor (usually the person who owns the process) and reviewers will be
identified).

2. Definition Template - BPRLite Proposal and Definition


It is essential that the scope of the review is defined and agreed at an early stage. This is the
responsibility of reviewers and the sponsor.
Staff resources to undertake the review will be required and a timescale for completing the work will
need to be defined. It is therefore important to define and agree clear boundaries for the review to help
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set expectations and to agree on a piece of work that can realistically be undertaken with the
resources available.
It may be that this stage will focus on a process that has already generated complaints or one that has
known efficiency issues. If it is unclear initially where improvements need to be made, a high-level
review of a number of processes could be undertaken followed by a prioritisation exercise to decide
the scope of a more detailed review.
The following key questions can help in deciding the scope of the review:
What are the drivers for change? E.g. To improve service levels, to comply with changes in
legislation, to increase efficiency?
Which process/processes will be considered and why?
What resources are available for the review?
What is the timescale? When do we need to see results of the review?
Who are the key stakeholders?

3. Review Template - BPRLite Report


Reviewers should make use of the tools described in Appendix A - Tools (tools should be selected
based on their strengths and the requirements of the review). Ideally the reviewer will have had
business process review training but this is not essential; anyone familiar with project management or
willing to take a little extra time to familiarise themselves with the BPR Toolkit (available from the CiCS
Projects website) will be able to use the BPRLite Toolkit.
The reviewers assess the process, and provide a short summary of findings; highlighting areas that
work especially well, or especially badly. This work should be documented in the BPRLite Report
template.
The following recommendations are made:
A high level process diagram should be drafted early on, this will help in identifying functions
and people that support the process
Interviews are a valuable, but unstructured, tool for understanding the process and identifying
problem areas and risks. It is recommended that interviews are carried out in pairs. It is
important to respect the confidentiality of those being interviewed.
SWOT analysis is a useful tool for reviewing interview transcripts and teasing out common
themes.
Detailed process diagrams can be time-consuming to create but allow reviewers (and anyone
subsequently using the review) to visualise the process and identify problems.
RACI analysis is particularly useful in identifying problems relating to information flow and
ownership.
Be mindful of the scope of the review throughout.
Be mindful of time constraints and what adds value to a business process review.
Reviewers can revisit the Conclusions section of the report after working through the BPRLite
Proposals for Change document and highlight changes that they think will have the most
benefit.
Remember that the most value will come from improvements to processes and not from beautifully
drawn process diagrams and polished reports!

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4. Proposal for Change Template - BPRLite Proposals for Change


Reviewers should identify opportunities for change and document these in the BPRLite Proposals for
Change template.
This should result in short, simple, problem statements and recommendations. An example can be
seen in the template.
The template also includes a list of actions to be suggested by the reviewer and discussed with the
sponsor.
The proposals identified can then be fed back into the BPRLite Report.

5. Deliver Report
The reviewers deliver the BPRLite Report and and BPRLite Proposals for Change to the sponsor.
The reviewers role is effectively concluded at this point; however they may be called upon to discuss
the report and/or proposals for change.
The sponsor will discuss potential actions with stakeholders. The actions identified in the BPRLite
Proposals for Change document should form the basis of this discussion.

6. Implementation
The sponsor and stakeholders put agreed actions into effect using existing processes. For example,
revising processes within teams, purchase of new equipment, proposals to SSB, Projects Lite,
Projects etc.

7. Post BPRLite Review


It is encouraged that the sponsor and stakeholders review the impact (positive and negative) of any
changes made. It may be helpful for the sponsor/stakeholder to assess the revised process against
the review and its recommendations.

Support
See the Business Process Review and Improvement page on the CiCS website for information about
BPR, and this toolkit.
Darren Stevens (d.stevens@sheffield.ac.uk) in the Programme and Project Unit and Chris Willis
(c.willis@sheffield.ac.uk) in CSaC can provide support to staff carrying out a business process review
and are also happy to receive suggestions for improvements to the BPR&I and BPRLite toolkits,
procedures and supporting materials.

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Appendix A Tools
This section provides suggestions for the tools that you might wish to use in carrying out the review.
There is more information on these tools in the Introduction to Business Process Review and
Improvement document available from the Business Process Review and Improvement page on the
CiCS website.

High-level process diagram


A high-level process diagram should be drafted early on,* this will help in identifying functions, people
and IT systems that support the process. This can then form the basis of your review.
No specific software is required.
*If time permits you can even do this with the sponsor whilst agreeing the scope of the review.

Detailed process diagrams


Detailed process diagrams can be time-consuming to create but allow reviewers (and anyone
subsequently using the outputs of the review) to visualise the process and identify problems.
Dead ends, loops and delays are often identified in inefficient processes.
Post-its, pencils and flip charts are a great way to draft your first process diagram; particularly when
working in groups. It is strongly recommended that you use a tool such as Microsoft Visio or
OmniGraffle in creating process diagrams.
Note: For anything but the most simple process it is unlikely that you will be able to draw a neat
process diagram!

Interviews
Interviews are a valuable, but unstructured, tool for understanding the process and identifying problem
areas and risks. It is recommended that interviews are carried out in pairs. It is important to respect
the confidentiality of those being interviewed. If you record interviews then you should seek consent of
the person being recorded.
Transcripts are likely to be lengthy and so it is recommended that they be included as appendices and
not in the main body of the report.

SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis is a useful tool for reviewing interview transcripts and teasing out strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
It may be appropriate to do this as a brainstorm amongst stakeholders.

RACI analysis
RACI analysis (responsible, accountable, consulted, informed) is particularly useful in identifying
problems relating to information flow and ownership. If you are finding it difficult to complete then refer
to detailed process maps.
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Where you are unable to identify a role at a stage in a process then this is likely to indicate a potential
area for improvement.

PESTLE analysis
This tool is helpful in understanding the environment that a process operates within rather than
analysing the process itself. However it can then be used to inform the SWOT analysis.

Five Whys
A tool that helps you understand the reasoning behind a process or a function. For example, challenge
why a step is necessary in a process until you are satisfied with the answer.

Other tools
This is just a summary of commonly used tools that support business process reviews. Many other
tools (both modeling aids and software packages) exist to help with business process reviews. It is
recommended that before investing significant time in a new tool you should be clear about what you
want to get out of it.

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