Process Observation is a data collection method that helps an observer (manager, expert, analyst) to investigate a particular process and get insight into major process characteristics, such as current state, performance level, issues, time left to completion, etc. This method allows analyzing processes, activities, or human behaviors to determine a process map and uncover any issues that compromise process effectiveness. The term is used in various project management methodologies, such as Six Sigma and Lean.
Observing a process means focusing on the process’s performance to identify whether the process runs effectively and produces desired results. The following process parameters are observed:
If the process is effective, then it uses resources to transform inputs into outputs according to process policies. In case the process seems to be ineffective, then it fails the chain of these parameters. A person responsible for observing this process needs to determine why the process is ineffective. For this purpose the person can focus on the following process data:
- Ongoing work
- Average completion rate
- Process variations
- Defects and waste
- Lead time