Assembly Line Workers and Artisans

End to end process descriptions with business rules, clarity related to organizational structure, position descriptions, security access and approval authority. These are all things that you think would be readily available at any bank. The reality is that process views across most banks is similar to looking through a dirty window.

Processes are split between lines of business, each providing specific business rules within their process steps. Organizational structure descriptions and documentation is normally not up to date with the actual structure that is in use, position descriptions as well are normally out of date and do not reflect the current function of various positions within the bank. Security access and approval authority is normally not clearly thought out at the enterprise level for each position and this leads to redundancies and discrepancies in its implementation.

So when you start a transformation of the process what you find in most banks is a group of independent tasks completed by independent groups within the organization with no one end to end process owner. Due to this there is normally never one central point of knowledge related to the process. To get beyond this the program normally requires large groups of subject matter experts just to come to a common understanding of the as-is processes and agree on the full scope of business rules. What most banks have are compartmentalized specialists working in an assembly line model.

The issue with this is that to transform a process you need resources with a wider point of view that can see down stream impacts to existing processes and understand where the process can be improved. Assembly line workers cannot help you with this you’ll need them just to understand the as-is. However you’ll really need artisans that can conceptualize the process, understand the nuances, and clearly define improvements if you want the as-is to transform. You need master process experts that have apprenticed at all levels of the process and can clearly walkthrough the process end to end.

Unfortunately organizing human resources around processes is not a common practice in banks today. The commoditization of services have created a generation of banking specialists focused on very specific process areas. Banks successful at transformations will understand the need to get focused on end to end processes, will breakdown the barriers between compartmentalized departments and silos and will clearly identify process owners. They will further create learning paths for the development of banking artisans who are able to walk through their processes and organization with ease. Further to this they will develop apprentice training paths to ensure continuity and succession planning around their key processes. Turning assembly line workers into true process artisans will ensure that transformational processes are consistently improved for the benefit of the organization.

2 Responses to Assembly Line Workers and Artisans

  1. Kris,

    I like your thinking about google+ and agree on your observations and thoughts about social media and social networks.

    I would be very interested in your thoughts regarding social media, social networks and banking. Especially how you envision to make a banking business out of this …

    Cheers,

    Frank

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