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What is Process View of Work?


Quality Glossary Definition: Process view of work

Process view of work is defined as the understanding that work can be viewed as a "process" that has inputs, steps, and output(s) and that interfaces with other processes within an organization. It is the overall awareness of the tactics and methodologies used "by an organized group of related activities that work together to transform one or more kinds of input into outputs that are of value to the customer."

This definition communicates several key ideas:

  • A process is a group of activities
  • The activities that make up a process are not random or ad hoc; they are related and organized
  • All the activities in a process must work together toward a common goal
  • Processes exist to achieve results valued by internal and external customers

A process view of work also can be viewed as an overall "value chain," in which each activity or step contributes to the end result. Some activities directly contribute value, while others may not.

All activities consume enterprise resources. The challenge for managers is to eliminate steps that do not add value and to improve the efficiency of those that do. This is an important aspect of total quality management.

A Simple Process View of Work Model

Process View of Work simple model

Figure 1

Types of Processes

Organizations use different types of processes to conduct work, but there are only three general styles of process in any industry: management processes, business processes, and support processes.

  1. Management processes: Provide direction and governance for an enterprise. They are generally conducted by senior leaders to set organizational goals, develop and deploy strategy to attain goals, establish and manage organization designs, and manage performance goals. Management processes also shape and manage the business and support processes used by the enterprise.
  2. Business processes: Reflect the unique competencies of the enterprise and are mission-critical. They tend to lie on, or close to, the core value-creating activities of the enterprise and are the processes that are seen and experienced by external customers. Value-creating business processes begin and end with the external customer, tend to be large in scope, and commonly span multiple organizational components. While organizations may have hundreds of work processes, they usually have very few business processes (typically five to seven). Since this group of processes represents the core competencies of the organization, this is where performance improvement work should be focused.
  3. Support processes: Exist to sustain the enterprise. Since the support needs of business organizations are similar, these processes tend to be fairly standard and are frequent candidates for outsourcing. The customers of support processes are internal customers within the organization.

While these three process categories play significantly different roles, they must be aligned and integrated to enable effective performance of the total system. Effective and sustained performance improvement must consider the management and support processes as well as the core business processes.

Types of Enterprise Processes

Process View of Work types of enterprise processes

Figure 2

Process View of Work resources

Quality Basics Simplify Complex Engineering Document Management Challenge (PDF) Quality tools such as flowcharts, cause-and-effect diagrams, and simulations helped a utility company transfer the management of 750,000 documents from more than 150 different facilities to a centralized location, resulting in annual savings of more than $1 million.

Effective Strategic Planning (PDF) By focusing on process, measurement, and accountability, organizations can improve the chances that their strategic change efforts will succeed.

The Power of Process Management (PDF) A case study demonstrates how one company is using process management to embed quality into the culture of the company, to run its business, to optimize systems, and to reach its goals.

Business Process Orientation: Do You Have It? (PDF) Process orientation and process re-engineering help companies review their assumptions and use information to develop customer-focused business strategies.


Adapted from The Process-Focused Organization: A Transition Strategy for Success, ASQ Quality Press.

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