Why are Work Processes so important that they are frequently included as an onboarding topic for new hires? It is because they are the basis of everything we do! They are the main component of a RACI project management methodology.
In most businesses, and ours especially, it is essential to have repeatable processes so that a client can reasonably expect a similar product each time they engage us. Work processes are necessary for the scalability of any business or project, since new employees or team members will need a “playbook” to hit the ground running with assignments. And, most importantly, we have found that written work processes allow for continuous improvement because in order to improve something, you first have to describe how it currently works.
Work Processes are essential because they provide:
- Product Quality Assurance
- Continuous Improvement
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RACI Project Management
At H+M Industrial EPC, our work is governed by Work Processes. These documents describe what is to be done and by whom. Every routine action that we do has an associated Work Process. In Figure 1*, a typical Work Process is shown. This particular example is for a safety process involving Energy Isolation, but the concept of RACI project management using Work Processes should exist for all functions and phases of a project.
The beauty of a Work Process is that it clearly defines who does what across project teams that may have multiple disciplines, trades, and roles. Figure 1* shows the Work Process in RACI-style format.
In this example, the information in the rows represent the tasks that must take place. As much as is possible, the tasks are shown chronologically. The columns show which team members are responsible for various parts of each task. There must always be a Responsible Party (R) and an Accountable Party (A). Consult (C) and Inform (I) should be listed when they are applicable to the task.
It is very important that specific team member names are attached to each RACI assignment for each project. For them to work correctly, the team must be fully aware of the Work Processes that apply to their jobs, the team member roles, and the assignments being described.
In most cases, more than a single-line task description is needed to fully describe what needs to be completed. In those instances, the Work Process will reference additional documents that either 1) explain the steps in narrative style (Procedure), or 2) illustrate the steps with graphics or video (Work Instruction). The Work Process must reference the appropriate tools, checklists and forms needed for them to be usable and beneficial. This is what makes up comprehensive set of tools used in the RACI project management method.
Following Work Processes improves quality over the long run because, for a particular task, team members will be doing the same thing from project to project, regardless of team composition or scope variations. Consistency is the goal of Work Processes. Projects are complex in the best situations, so reducing the “person to person” variation as much as possible yields higher project certainty and reduced risk.
Just as with any product, project owners want to know what they will get before they award a project. Adherence to Work Processes increase the probability that work will be of similar quality to previous experiences.
As with any process, it is vital that Work Processes receive frequent audits to ensure that they are being complied with and that workers view them as a primary tool for work completion.
One guarantee in the Capital Projects World is that things will change over time. The needs of the project change, teams change, technology changes, investment levels change. In an environment where resource levels need to increase rapidly to meet Project Opportunities, Work Processes must exist to guide the teams and workers. Planning to hire the most experienced people every time a need arises is planning to fail. Instead, use the most experienced people to create work processes for everyone else.
Work Processes are important as a “way of working,” but any Work Process System will fail if it is not continuously updated. Times and technology change and process improvements are made. All of these must be reflected in the Work Processes in real time. When properly constructed, the system will provide a feedback loop to keep the processes “evergreen” and reflect the company's best practices.
1.RACI is an acronym commonly used in Project Management environments to describe the format for Division of Responsibility that involves a list of tasks on one axis of the matrix and the “who does it” on the other axis. R=Responsible, A=Accountable, C=Consulted, I = Informed
H+M Industrial EPC: RACI Project Management
For over 30 years, H+M Industrial EPC has implemented the RACI project management in our Work Processes and across our execution process to increase product quality assurance, scalability, and continuous improvement. While each project designates the scope of work, our team is dedicated to executing every aspect of the project with expert level efficiency. If you are ready to get your project started today, contact us now!