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Your Guide to Effectiveness: 5 Top Process Improvement Books

Regardless of where you are in your career, which function you hold, and what your day-to-day responsibilities are, being a process-oriented individual is critical for optimal success.

Processes create efficiencies, improve communication, and give an organization a sense of structure.

Processes can guide companies through the toughest of times and the best of times, preventing chaos from erupting in all types of scenarios.

When a key employee leaves, a company is scaling or downsizing quickly, or if a new client is brought on board — all of these are scenarios in which having clear processes in place prior to the event will help transitions happen far more efficiently and smoothly, and keep business running as usual otherwise.

If you don’t have appropriate processes in place for events like these, chaos can ensue quickly.

There are some fabulous project management and process-oriented books that are well worth reading for the operations-driven individual.

Here, we cite several favorites…

The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management by Eric Verzuh

A project management bestseller, this book gives you the ins and out on most of the common tasks and scenarios you will face as a project manager.

From building good budgets and project plans to dealing with management issues, to how to apply lean principles to project management, this book is the 101 for project management.

[easyazon-image align="center" asin="B006JMTKNQ" locale="us" height="300" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51PeOyNq8EL.jpg"]

[easyazon-cta align="center" asin="B006JMTKNQ" height="28" key="amazon-us-wide-orange" locale="us" width="176"]

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Written by the founder of Tom’s Shoes, this book is a guide not just in starting a social venture, but also in how to maximize the potential of your product and your employee by being process-oriented.

Mycoskie takes us through the trials and tribulations of starting his business, what worked and what didn’t, and gives valuables tips on certain processes that worked wonders for him in building and scaling the formidable Tom’s Shoes.

[easyazon-image align="center" asin="1400069181" locale="us" height="300" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ALNo1dEFL.jpg"]

[easyazon-cta align="center" asin="1400069181" height="28" key="amazon-us-wide-orange" locale="us" width="176"]

Essential Tools for Operations Management: Tools, Models and Approaches for Managers and Consultants by Simon Burtonshaw-Gunn

With a large focus on operations management, this book is great for businesspeople in a wide array of functions.

The book specifically focuses on marketing, CRM, and product development and how to manage these functions effectively.

It also happens to be the third in a series of books on operations management, all of which are recommended.

[easyazon-image align="center" asin="B003L780R4" locale="us" height="300" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41a0FE44oiL.jpg"]

[easyazon-cta align="center" asin="B003L780R4" height="28" key="amazon-us-wide-orange" locale="us" width="176"]

Process Improvement Using Six Sigma: A DMAIC Guide by Rama Shankar

This is a fantastic reference for applying principles of Six Sigma methodology, which are well-known to often lead to big overall efficiencies in an organization.

There are 5 phases of Six Sigma, which include Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control (DMAIC), and this book is a how-to in implementing this approach in a business setting.

[easyazon-image align="center" asin="0873897528" locale="us" height="300" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41P3rHplgkL.jpg"]

[easyazon-cta align="center" asin="0873897528" height="28" key="amazon-us-wide-orange" locale="us" width="176"]

The Art of Process Improvement by Abdul A. Jaludi

This is a fantastic book that aims to show how artfully process can impact an organization, maximizing the potential of the resources you do have for the improvement of employee morale, revenues, and overall organizational success.
[easyazon-image align="center" asin="B007LNNIV2" locale="us" height="300" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41GCVGXu4LL.jpg"]

[easyazon-cta align="center" asin="B007LNNIV2" height="28" key="amazon-us-wide-orange" locale="us" width="176"]

Conclusion

To close, regardless of which professional path you choose, being process-oriented will build others confidence in you, create efficiencies in the work you are doing and for those around you, and overall, will lend to an improved career trajectory.

Being process-driven can never have negative effects if the principles are applied properly and consistently.

What Are Your Thoughts??

Editor’s note: When I was consulting as a project lead and client executive sponsor, 2 of my pet peeves were updated documentation as well as defined and tested business processes. And it never failed — where either, or both ,were lacking it was like a boat without a rudder. Not everyone could get onto the same page — and if someone left, well… good luck! (disclosure: sometimes I smiled inwardly as I knew it meant I would be extended for the lack of documentation alone.) When comparing the contracts I worked on in the 20+ years of consulting — based on the complexity of the project, without fail, every project that took the time to document (usually through a repository) as well as define business proceses ended below budget, was completed early, and had a higher level of customer satisfaction after the project was completed.

  Based on your own experiences, have you been able see a difference with good documentation as well as defined and documented business processes?

  In theory, well documented business processes would allow someone to be hired and take over a desk, providing they had the right skills — do you believe this may be a fear factor in keeping good documentation?

  What tools do you use to maintain well-documented business processes? What tools would you recommend?

Please share your thoughts with us and our audience in the comments section below! Or you can reach us directly from our contact page.

Business process management are the tools needed to keep a business thriving -- and to reduce redundant costs.

Business process management are the tools needed to keep a business thriving — and to reduce redundant costs.

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Cara Aley

Cara was brought to our attention by Katrina Robinson of Media Shower who can be reached by email by clicking here.

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who writes typically on matters of entrepreneurship and on the subject of online reputation management for Reputation.com.

She is the former President and COO of an apparel manufacturing company, and is currently VP of Operations for Two Degrees, a one-for-one food bar company.

Cara also spent the better part of a decade in digital project management on both the agency side and on the client side.

You can reach Cara via email, through the social media, or by leaving a comment below…

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