Assuming that the ability to achieve the necessary changes exists, I divide process design in two major parts. First part is very corporate oriented and tend to include a lot of theory and logic, the second part is very operation oriented and tend to include a lot of practice and how to. I have run both parts in parallel, in sequence and backwards all with the same result. It does not matter. They will affect each other so the number of iterations is dictated by the distance between them both. I promise you there will be a distance between them and that is exactly what the process design is to identify and to close that gap.
I have heard and read about numerous process projects where the initial process design phase has been closed in the early phases of a project and the project team has only read books and talked to management at that stage, not talked to any process performer/operator/role. That would be a shortcut to failure to me. That would only address one of the two parts of process design for me.
Part one in process design - The Process: Define and describe the process mission, process goals, critical success factors, Key performance indicators, sub processes and expected output/benefit aligned to corporate strategy and goals. This needs to be business oriented.
Part two in process design - The sub processes: For each sub process, define and describe objectives, stakeholders, measurements, main focus, key functions/role involved and a detailed activity flow. This needs to be practice oriented.
Part one is done with the business, management and function responsibles and part two is done with stakeholders and highly qualified and experienced process operators that really know how things are done in reality.
When the first step with both these parts are done the gap needs to be identified, analyzed and closed. The gap will be there. There will be missing measurements and activities in part two that are necessary to achieve the objectives for that sub process and there will be activities that are identified that does not contribute to the sub process objectives or should belong to, and be performed in, another sub process where it contributes to the corresponding objective.
There will also be missing sub process objectives that needs to be identified and included to support the overall process goals and mission. Some process goals will later be identified and changed to a sub process objective and vice versa. This is the iterations that the gap between the two parts will generate. Both of them feed each other with valuable findings, changes and content etc. They need to be addressed and designed as one but due to the difference in detail and participants they can be managed as two different work streams e.g. part one and part two, in parallel or in sequence with iterations to close the gap.
When the initial design is done, the content for the process, part one, will tend to be quite static. There will be changes over time that is identified but still, they will be few. The sub processes on the other hand, part two, will be more dynamic. This content will, and need to change to evolve the overall process and is a never ending story. As soon as you stop managing, analyzing and improving them, the process will deteriorate.
Next post in this series: What is process design (my way) post 3(5). Part one.