Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Life process reengineering

This is one of the other intellectual discussions I had with Pareekh, which brought lot of clarity in my ideas and thinking process.

According to Pareekh, who have been involved with business process reengineering activities in many firms,we can apply the business process reengineering (BPR) steps to our life converting BPR into somewhat similar life process reengineering (LPR).

This LPR approach can help us to accomplish our goals and help us to become more focussed towards our goals through a simple structured analysis.

To begin connecting and explaining BPR with LPR let us first answer a very simple question.

In our life what are we aiming at?

The answer is simple - we are all striving to make our life better, though different individuals go in for different approaches, ultimate aim of all being one - i.e to achieve the goal set by us in our lives.

There are thousands of ways to make life better and achieve our goal in life.... But smart men go for adopting ways which would help them in accomplishing their goal in life more effectively, in less time and at the same time leaving aside activities which contribute in no way to their goals.

First let me brief you out about Business Process Reengineering, since I am not a management consultant Pareekh explained me this process in simple words. I had tried to pen down the same below.

According to Pareekh - When considering the BPR approach broadly, we can divide this Analytical Process into three broad categories.

1). Directly helping business - In BPR this means functions and business processes , which would directly affect and contribute to the customers requirements.

To make it simple to understand, Consider a restaurant, there making food --- directly relates to the customer, you have to follow this activity, you cannot do without making food. This activity of "making food" directly contributes to the customers requirement of "to have food when they visit a restaurant".

We let things be as they are generally under this category as they are very much important and we cannot do without them. These are basically the real goals which we are looking forward to and there is not much automation done under this step.These functions add real value to the business.

2). Indirectly helping business - Under this category lies processes / functions which do not help the real goals of business directly or in other words we can say that which do not affect the customer directly. e.g HR , Logistics in business firms .

Following the example of restaurant business from above in restaurants these functions would include - Ordering / buying of vegetables / spices from a particular person or firm.

There is lot of scope of change under this category e.g - buying vegetables which would result in money savings. We here have to go for the best deal, now this would not help customer directly but indirectly it would provide better food at low rates for them.

3). Other activities apart from above two - This category includes specific functions which arose because of some specific needs required in achievement of goal at a particular time but no more contribute to the customer or business both directly and indirectly today, they are more or less not required any more .

e.g Changing or getting printed of menu cards in hotel - initially if the restaurant was changing its menu after every few months, menu was not fixed. This activity was very much important at that time, but in future after the menu was fixed by a restaurant spending printing or redesigning of menu cards will not contibute to the business in any way.

After categorising the business processes under above three categories, ultimately BPR goes for optimizing the real values which affect the customer directly , minimizing the cost of functions that indirectly contribute to customers requirements and eliminating steps adding no value at all to both customer and business.

The above discussed BPR approach can be applied in our lives. Pareekh calls it Life Process Reengineering (LPR). The LPR will help us to similarly categorise our activities in day to day life and thus help us to follow activities which would directly or indirectly align with our goal in life leaving aside the activities which contibute in no way in the accomplishment of our aim in life.

Here direct activities would include which would help us directly in achieving our goal.We should not compromise on these activities and these activities must be set at top priority. e.g If one wants to become a professional singer, learning classical music would help him/her directly in singing well, as it would help him/her to identify various notes of music. Thus one must at once go for learning classical music / singing and must not do any compromise on it as the compromise in an activity which adds real value to your aim would lead one away from and not close to one's aim in life.

Then comes the second category - indirect functions which align with our goals. When considering Life Process Reengineering, identification of these indirect helping Goal Achieving functions are very important.

e.g I want to open a restaurant business but today I do not have full initial capital required with me, so I do a job in some office which pays me, this money in future will help me set up my business - So doing job is an indirect function which aligns with my aim ultimately i.e to set up a restaurant business.

Here I have scope for changing my jobs. Better one will be the ones which will pay me more as I am looking forward to increase my bank balance.

Similarly in our life we should be able to understand and differentiate which all activities align with our goal and which do not. Goal alignment activities must be the one we should follow and give priority. Then further out of these goal alignment activities we must be able to able to identify which activities take us most near to our goal.

Finally comes the third category - We do lot of activities which do not align with our goal, we need to identify them and just stop performing them, as these activities would never help us in our accomplishment of aim. We talk on phone / with people unnecessarily for hours at times -- does this help us in our goal achievement? Is this activity aligning with my goal - analyse if not why waste time in such activities, if yes then no regrets.

Following from the example in second category - if I continue doing the job after I had saved sufficient money to start my venture, I am getting distracted/attracted to a job which is taking me away by delaying my setting up of new business.

In all, bit of structured approach can lead our path to success and satisfaction. Key to success in life process engineering lie in identifying and following things/activities which align with our goal and leaving aside the activitis which do not align with our goal.

Once one is able to smartly differentiate the three types of activities and then categorise them accordingly, we will definitely be clser to our goal with each single activity done.

No comments: