artifacts, processes and assessments
The next section discusses the process. I acknowledge that we have been discussing OR, but a key component to communicating and training is understanding process and the ecosystem which the value is delivered. I most often see processes created in MS Visio or a stark format. Yes, some modeling tools are great when doing complex analysis, but PPM is just as much an art as it is a science and we would waste our time/investment if we tried to account for every possibility - we are people doing these processes, not computers. A simple first step (which I use with nearly every process definition and system integration project I work) is to whiteboard the contextualized process operating rhythm. Visually displaying "what" is entered, "when," and "why" it is important resonates and can be translated to visually friendly OR material as well as technical documentation.
Though the relative top-down view is vital, we also need details. Again, when has a plain process diagram truly impacted with a group of people? I prefer to use standard views (Like MS Smart Art) to dive into process detail – often in addition to MS Excel. This is the outline for the process details which can start as a whiteboard, iterated upon, then documented in a consumable form, to be used throughout OR activities. Further granularity could be added using MS Visio and spreadsheets . . . but I find a consumable aesthetic much more likely to be understood and adopted.
Lastly, as part of OR, we must identify and track our success. This can be done with some metrics and lessons learned activities. As we all have seen, formal OR and lessons learned activities are often the last to add and the first to go when managing PPM initiatives. We, PMOs and Product teams are all guilty of this. Just like the concepts of OR, these are not difficult tasks and may take as little as 30 minutes per quarter . . . but they add a ton of value. Some example metrics are below, but where PPM Practitioners fail is when they don’t have the (well organized) meetings/activities build into their cadence.