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Pan American Games – Lessons from Management by Processes

Pan American Games – Lessons from Management by Processes

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The similarities between high performance sports teams and the business administration.

The 4 x 100 meters relay or sprint relay is an Olympic athletics modality, disputed by teams of four runners. The race consists of four sequential courses equivalent to 100 meter, each athlete must pass a baton every 100 meters in a changeover zone about 20 meters long to the next team runner. So the dynamic of the baton transferring is crucial. The athlete who receives the baton has to be already running at a high speed and without look backwards, get it from the incoming runner. They are the critical moments of the race, which can determine the end result – win, lose or disqualified. The winner is the team that is faster and does not fail in the baton transferring, i.e., it is more efficient and effective in the race.

In business it is not different. Companies seek efficiency and effectiveness. The management by processes is a set of predetermined activities, performed in a certain sequence, to ensure the attendance of customers and stakeholders’ needs and expectations.

The management by processes helps the systemic view of the business. It is important to understand how the whole means much more than a simple sum of the parts. By using this methodology you can identify the interfaces of processes and if they are well “sewn together”.

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One question remains: how to structure the chain of processes for more efficient management? According to the proposal of the National Quality Foundation – FNQ, the steps to structure the management by processes are:

1. Value Chain Structure
What is value? Define the company’s business; identify the value stream; identify stakeholders and their needs; define the organizational structure and strategic goals of the company.

2. Value Chain Breakdown
What is the hierarchy of processes?

3. Process Maturity Evaluation
Assess the maturity of processes and whether they can be improved. Take in account the relevant strategic drivers and other key elements of the organization’s context.

4. Identify priorities and critical processes
Based on the maturity assessment, establish the importance of each process considering the priorities of the organization that result from the review of the strategy and context. Which are the procedures with a strong impact on the achievement of strategic objectives and stakeholder satisfaction?
They can also be chosen by using criteria such as problems and/or external or internal customer’s complaints, process level of cost, brand image impact.

5. Validate the requirements of external and internal customers
Yes, internal customers are also important. The requirements only will be considered validated after the agreement of both parties (suppliers and customers both internal and external). For some organizations, other stakeholders such as community, shareholders, as well as needs from corporate governance, environment, etc., should also be considered in the requirements.

6. Document the processes
Documenting work processes; make them visible and standardized. Every step of the process to achieve the final product must be documented. It is important to document every relevant process.

7. Develop measurements and process indicators
Create performance indicators for the processes. Indicators should be measurable and aligned with the objectives and strategies of the company. So you will know how your performance is and can make the necessary corrections on time.

8. Manage and improve processes
Make a continuous critical analysis of the processes and always keep in mind the question of how to improve them.

Some factors for successful implementation are: clear goals, effective action, meet the necessary skills, availability of resources, incentives, correct information and teamwork. The process management involves the entire company, from senior management concerning business definition, strategies, objectives, organizational structure, and communication through all levels in the company.


Article author: Beatriz del Fiol

Food Engineer, Specialist in Industrial Management, Specialist in Quality & Productivity, Quality Management Systems and Food Safety Consultant. Quality Management Instructor in SENAI Technical School. HACCP auditor certified by ASQ (American Society for Quality), Partner of PBC – Food & Beverages Consultants.