A fragmented management system: from chaos to order

Picture this. You are going to set up and lead a new project. You are eager to get started, but soon realize that you face a daunting task. All the necessary information is scattered everywhere. Processes are not well defined and there are no clear guidelines to follow. 

Instead of working on the actual project, you spend most of your time looking up the necessary information. Some of it is in various systems, some of it is in departmental folders.  

Again, who is responsible for that one process? And what was the name of that software you need to use for that particular activity? And what environmental standards must we meet? This is in the presentation that was accidentally stored locally on your colleague's computer. 

If this sounds familiar, you're not the only one. In many organizations, the management system can't really be called a management system. It's more like a scattered mess, with information scattered everywhere. 

But it doesn't have to be that way! With a little effort and smart tools, you can turn this chaos into order.  

In this article, we'll show you how. We start first with a situation sketch - what are the consequences of a fragmented management system? With this situation sketch, you build a case internally for the importance of a well-functioning management system. Then we'll show you how to create order out of chaos. 

So let's get started! 

A fragmented management system: what do we mean by that?

When we talk about a fragmented management system, we mean a system in which information is scattered and not well organized. For example, information is then stored in different systems and folders, or even in personal document collections. As a result, it can be difficult to find the information you need. 

 This is not only about where the information is stored, but also how it is presented and stored. Different departments (QA, SHE, IT, HR, Control, operational departments, project teams) may have their own ways of doing this, making it difficult not only to find what you need, but also to compare this information with each other. 

What are the consequences of a fragmented management system? 

That a fragmented management system leads to confusion and wasted time is obvious. But if you want to make a case internally for the importance of order in chaos, it will help to be able to make the consequences more concrete. 

For example, a fragmented management system can lead to: 

Inconsistent execution

When there are no clear guidelines (to be found) on how to do something, it is not surprising that people will do it in different ways. This can lead to inconsistency in the performance of work. For example, one colleague may follow the instructions in the manual, while another colleague has been told by his or her supervisor to do things differently. 

Training co-workers becomes difficult 

Because it is more of a sequence of coincidences of how certain work is explained and what is considered important in doing so, it becomes more difficult for new colleagues to learn how things are done. This can lead to frustration and lower productivity, as well as chronic dissatisfaction and even staff turnover. 

Inconsistent results 

Inconsistent work execution naturally leads to inconsistent results. If different colleagues do the same thing in different ways, they will most likely get different results. Therefore, quality management becomes a lot more difficult because it is unclear what is actually the starting point. 

Recurring errors

When employees do not have clear, accessible information, it becomes more difficult to adhere to process agreements and deliver good quality during handover moments. This leads to employees making the same mistakes without them, as well as team leaders and managers, realizing it. Structural errors are not recognized, there is a lack of overview, information is lost, and failure costs will increase. 

Incident management takes more time than it should 

In cases where there is no consistency, it often takes longer to resolve incidents. This is because there are no insightful reports available with which to sort out the cause. 

People point to various causes that they believe are preventing them from delivering good quality, but a structural solution with broad support is not so easily arranged. 

In contrast, in a well-organized management system, such issues can be investigated more quickly and easily so that incidents are resolved better and faster. 

Improvement processes are less likely to succeed 

In a well-functioning management system, it is clear how work is currently being done and what can be improved. In contrast, in a fragmented management system, it is often unclear where improvements can be made because the overview is lacking. As a result, the chances of successfully implementing improvement processes are much lower. 

A fragmented management system thus has far-reaching consequences, both for the quality of work and for the efficiency of the organization as a whole. To avoid these negative consequences, it is therefore important to have a well-functioning management system.  

Creating order out of chaos: how do you do it? 

Of course, the first step in creating order out of chaos is to recognize internally that there is a problem. In many organizations we see in this a kind of uncontrollable helplessness: organizing belongs to everyone and therefore to no one.  

A complex playing field of different interests 

After all, there are many people and departments that want and need to influence the work process. Previously, there was only the classic P&O; then quality management, financial and operational control, process management, information management, BPM, automation and digitalization came around the corner. So it is clear that the organization of a company and its processes is a complex playing field where many people and interests meet. 

Step 1. Start by identifying processes and those responsible

You start by mapping the processes that actually take place within the organization. Once these have been mapped, it must be determined who is responsible for each process. This seems like a simple task, but in practice it often turns out to be quite difficult. In many organizations there is still a lack of clarity about who is actually responsible for which process. 

Not sure where to start? Comm'ant has developed the Process Model Canvas for this purpose. This is a format and working form to uncover the essence of your business processes. You can download the template for free or contact us for a training afternoon

Download » Process Model Canvas template

Step 2. Define roles and responsibilities

So the next step is to clarify who is responsible for what in the organization. This can be done, for example, by designating a process owner for each process. The process owner is then responsible for ensuring that the process runs smoothly. Other roles that can be distinguished are process experts, a professional with extensive knowledge and (practical) experience in a particular business process, and process developers. These are the people who analyze and improve processes. 

Setting up process teams is part of the "Comm'ant method." This method uses process and quality management to create transparency in the organization, which will lead to better cooperation between teams, quality of output and desired results. Feel free to contact our process specialists for guidance on this! 

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Step 3. Document processes

The next step is to document the processes. This may seem like a bureaucratic exercise, but it is fundamental to success. By documenting the process, you create clarity about how the process should actually be done. This is especially important when there are multiple people involved in a process. In addition, when you document the processes, you also gain immediate insight into where improvements can be made. 

Step 4. One focal point: implement the management system 

All these steps eventually lead to one central point: the management system. This is the system that pulls all the threads together. This system brings together processes, roles and responsibilities, documentation and oversight. The management system ensures that everyone knows what needs to be done and when, so that the organization can actually move forward. 

The management system should be designed to take into account all the different interests and needs of the different departments and people within the organization. Therefore, it is important that the management system can be easily modified and improved.  

Comm'ant Process is particularly well suited for this, a Web-based platform to set up your management system on. This way, you have all information in one place and you can give everyone access to the system who needs it. In this way you create transparency and overview, so that everyone knows what their tasks are and what requirements the process result must meet.  

We are happy to help you implement a new management system. Maybe you already have experience with it, but maybe not yet. Whatever phase you are in: we help you with a smart approach, a clear step-by-step plan and plenty of best practices so that you do not forget any essential matters. Because when the basics are right, you will fly! 

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Step 5. Communication and training 

Of course, it is not enough just to document processes and implement a management system: all your colleagues must also be made aware of the existence, usefulness and applicability of the system. You achieve this through communication and training. Because if everyone knows what their tasks are and where the information can be found, cooperation will improve significantly and quality will increase. 

If you start working with Comm'ant software, we will support you in this. The Comm'ant training courses are for learning about and applying the process management method and the integral results-oriented process model. We offer training courses for getting started using the software tools: the Kick-Start training courses for Comm'ant Process & Forms. In addition, there are concise specialized on-the-job trainings for process audits and process improvements, among other things. 


In conclusion: from chaos to order 

The process of designing and implementing a new management system can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With the right tools and support, you can transform your organization from a chaotic mess into a well-oiled machine. 

Comm'ant offers a complete package of software, training and support to help you implement a new management system. We'd love to help you get started!  

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