A Scorecard for Process Managers

Kaplan and Norton published their first article on the Balanced Scorecard approach in the Harvard Business Review in 1992 [1] The essence of the scorecard approach is twofold. First, it forces everyone in an organization to consider multiple criteria for judging the success of the organization. Second, it provides a conceptually easy way to understand aligning performance criteria from the organization down through divisions and departments to line supervisors. Each manager has a performance evaluation based on a scorecard designed for that manager, but all scorecards are aligned upward to the ultimate organization scorecard.

Figure 1 illustrates the four broad categories that Kaplan and Norton use to define their scorecard.

Figure 1. ECI's Balanced Business Scorecard


Figure 1. ECI's Balanced Business Scorecard
(After a Figure in Kaplan and Norton's article “The Balanced Scorecard – Measures that Drive Performance” in HBR in the Jan-Feb. 1992 issue.)

Nominally, the Balanced Scorecard approach was supposed to support business processes, but, in fact, most organizations have used it to support a more traditional department-based organizational design, and, frankly, the models that Kaplan and Norton use do not represent a very sophisticated understanding of business processes.

Most companies, today, use some kind of modified scorecard system, tailored to their specific organizational needs. Similarly, several process groups, as for example the Supply Chain Council (SCC) have developed their own scorecards, tailored to the needs of a process-based approach. In a similar way, BPTrends has worked with companies to adopt the scorecard approach for organizations that employ a matrix design and have both departmental and process managers. [2]

Figure 2. Using Balanced Scorecards for Both Departments and Processes


Figure 2. Using Balanced Scorecards for Both Departments and Processes.

Increasingly, however, BPTrends has found that trying to fit process concepts into the four categories of the traditional scorecard is an unnecessary frustration.

We have found that a better way of thinking about a scorecard is to tie it closely to the source of the measures. Using the BPTrends approach, derive our key process measures from an analysis of the stakeholders in a process. In essence, we generate a diagram like the one shown in Figure 2, and ask what each stakeholder expects from the process. Obviously we pay considerable attention to what customers want, but we are also concerned with measures required by senior executives and other key stakeholders.

Figure 3.  The stakeholders of a bank process that provides teller services in branches


Figure 3. The stakeholders of a bank process that provides teller services in branches.

In essence, when we begin to study this diagram, we look at each stakeholder relationship and describe our goals for the relationship and the measures we will use to evaluate the success achieved by the process in satisfying that stakeholder.

In some cases it helps to evaluate the stakeholders of our stakeholders. Thus, for example, the Bank Executives are not only concerned with the success of the teller process, but they have to satisfy the board and shareholders. Thus, they are interested in things like the ROI generated by the process, and need on-going financial data that can be used to prepare the financial reports sent to shareholders.

In a similar way, employees are not only interested in the work environment and the pay derived from enabling the process, but they are also interested in things like health care, pensions and their career development.

In the past we have created a stakeholder diagram like the one shown in Figure 3, then developed a worksheet that lists each stakeholder and described what would satisfy or please the stakeholder, and then rearranged all of the resulting measures into the four categories provided by the classic scorecard pictured in Figure 1.

Increasingly, however, we find it is easier to simply use the stakeholder worksheet as the scorecard. Thus, for example, we might create a stakeholder scorecard, like the one shown in Figure 3, to capture metrics initially developed by the stakeholder diagram. The goals, in this case, involve satisfying the stakeholder.

Figure 4. A scorecard organized around process stakeholders


Figure 4. A scorecard organized around process stakeholders.

Obviously the scorecard in Figure 4 is only related to the specific business process. It becomes more interesting when we consider this process and its scorecard in the context of an entire organization. At the top of our hierarchy is a bank scorecard for the entire organization, which also has its stakeholders. Then there are the major processes within the bank, perhaps a value chain entitled Provide Financial Services for Individuals, and Provide Financial Services for Businesses. These value chains also have their stakeholders. In essence, we simply organize these into a hierarchy. Management can always add other goals, like a management directed initiative to develop a relationship with a stock broker so that branch customers can buy and sell stocks from their savings accounts. Similarly, support processes may drive initiatives, like a change in the employee healthcare system.

Figure 5.  Some relationships between processes and stakeholders


Figure 5. Some relationships between processes and stakeholders.

By examining each process carefully, in a hierarchical fashion, one can identify the goals and measures for each process. As a generalization, as one goes down into the hierarchy, external stakeholders, like customers and suppliers, get replaced by other business processes that the stakeholders initially interface with. All this can be incorporated into a stakeholder scorecard for each business process, and can, in turn, serve as a way of evaluating both the performance of the business process and the work of each of the process managers.

This approach can capture the same information captured in a more traditional balanced scorecard approach. The stakeholder scorecard approach, however, doesn't require that measures be rearranged or arbitrarily grouped, but allows them to displayed in a way that improves tractability and clarifies the priorities of the process in question.

Notes

1. Kaplan, Robert S. and David P. Norton. “The Balanced Scorecard – Measures That Drive Performance.” Harvard Business Review Jan/Feb 1992.

2. Harmon, Paul. “Using a Balanced Scorecard to Support a Business Process Architecture.” www.bptrends.com Oct 16, 2007.

Paul Harmon

Paul Harmon

Executive Editor and Founder, Business Process Trends In addition to his role as Executive Editor and Founder of Business Process Trends, Paul Harmon is Chief Consultant and Founder of Enterprise Alignment, a professional services company providing educational and consulting services to managers interested in understanding and implementing business process change. Paul is a noted consultant, author and analyst concerned with applying new technologies to real-world business problems. He is the author of Business Process Change: A Manager's Guide to Improving, Redesigning, and Automating Processes (2003). He has previously co-authored Developing E-business Systems and Architectures (2001), Understanding UML (1998), and Intelligent Software Systems Development (1993). Mr. Harmon has served as a senior consultant and head of Cutter Consortium's Distributed Architecture practice. Between 1985 and 2000 Mr. Harmon wrote Cutter newsletters, including Expert Systems Strategies, CASE Strategies, and Component Development Strategies. Paul has worked on major process redesign projects with Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Security Pacific, Prudential, and Citibank, among others. He is a member of ISPI and a Certified Performance Technologist. Paul is a widely respected keynote speaker and has developed and delivered workshops and seminars on a wide variety of topics to conferences and major corporations through out the world. Paul lives in San Francisco. Paul can be reached at pharmon@bptrends.com
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