Each and every process should go through the following steps:
Define those problems that should be escalated and those that should not. Everyone working in a process should have the same definition of what is a problem. Often times we end up with a hierarchy of issues that are solved within the process – Level 1 – and those processes that go to a root cause process (deviation/CAPA) – level 2.
Identify the ways to notice a problem. Make the work as visual as possible so it is easier to detect the problem.
Define the escalation method. There should be one clear way to surface a problem. There are many ways to create a signal, but it should be simple, timely, and very clear.
These three elements make up the request for help.
The next two steps make up the response to that request.
How does the individual respond, and most importantly when? This should be standardized so the other end of that help chain is not wondering whether, when, and in what form that help is going to arrive.
In order for this to work, it is important to identify clear ownership of the problem. There always must be one person clearly accountable, even if only responsible for bits, so they can push the problem forward.
It is easy for problem-solving to stall. So make sure progress is transparent. Knowing what is being worked on, and what is not, is critical.
Prioritization is key. Not every problem needs solving so have a mechanism to ensure the right problems are being solved in the process.
Governance and ownership challenges often arise in an organization for four reasons:
Business stakeholders who resist assuming ownership of their own processes, data and/or knowledge, or have balkanized/siloed accountability
Turf wars or power struggles between groups of stakeholders
Lack of maturity in one or more areas
Resistance to established governance rules
The Business Struggles with Accountability
Processes often have a number of stakeholders, but no apparent owners. This results in opportunity costs as compulsory process changes (e.g. legislative requirements, systems capacity, or company structural changes) or process improvements are not implemented because the business process owner is unaware of the change, or no clear business process owner has been identified which leads to an increase in risk.
Sometimes processes have a number of stakeholders who all think they are the owners of parts of the process or the whole process. When this overlap happens, each supposed owner often identifies their own strategy for the process and issues their own process change instructions to conform to their understanding of the purpose of the business process. These conflicting instructions lead to frustration and confusion by all parties involved.
Lack of accountability in process and system leads to inefficient processes, organizational disharmony, and wasted energy that can be better spent on process improvements.
Due to silo thinking there can be subdivided processes, owned by different parts of the organization. For example, count how many types of change control your organization has. This requires silos to be broken down, and this takes time.
In the organizational world Visual Management is a management system that attempts to improve organizational performance through connecting and aligning organizational vision, core values, goals and culture with other management systems, work processes, workplace elements, and stakeholders, by means of stimuli, which directly address one or more of the five human senses (sight, hearing, feeling, smell and taste). These stimuli communicate quality information (necessary, relevant, correct, immediate, easy to-understand and stimulating), which helps people make sense of the organizational context at a glance by merely looking around. It is a management approach that utilizes either one or more of information giving, signaling, limiting or guaranteeing (mistake-proofing/ poka-yoke) visual devices to communicate with “doers”, so that places become self-explanatory, self-ordering, self-regulating and self-improving.