Operational Excellence

Critical Success Process-Linking strategy and tactics to operational processes

This is a framework or components to guide thinking on the topic of operational excellence and process capture/re-engineering. Thinking in terms of Critical Success Factors (CSF) as input to a strategic plan, and how they are (should be) aligned to top level strategic objectives. Starting with the original definition of a CSF (Rockhart):

“The limited number of areas in which results, if they are satisfactory, will ensure successful competitive performance for the organization. They are the few key areas where things must go right for the business to flourish. If results in these areas are not adequate, the organization’s efforts for the period will be less than desired.”

What processes most directly support the plan strategies and tactics (under each objective)? I introduce a new concept here: Critical Success Process TM (CSP). A definition:

A limited number of process in which consistent standardized execution will ensure efficient operations, minimize operational risk, and contribute to stakeholder satisfaction. These are a few processes that must go right for the organization to flourish. If these processes are unstable, organizational efficiency will suffer resulting in waste.

I propose for a process [workflow] to be stable it must be understood [documented] in context with all interfaced systems, entities, and actors [context diagram], and the process must be communicated to those actors with sufficient training. A visible feedback process must exist to correct or improve.


Issue a professional invoice from the accounting system [finance] to an external organization matched to a signed agreement [Sales] and monitor, receive, deposit check, and confirm [Operations].

Process details to work through [format]:

  • Trigger (initial conditions)
  • Data requirements (contact info, pricing, address, etc.)
  • Timing, sequencing, and dependencies
  • Interfaces, interactions, and interrelationships
  • What does monitor mean?
  • Performance
  • Who should be included in confirmation?
  • Define complete-what is done done?


  •  Account for Non-Functional Requirements that may be applicable and important or essential:
    • Privacy
    • Governance
    • Regulations
    • Organization polices
  • A case to evaluate the value of employing (graphic) context diagrams
  • An illustration of a systems thinking view these processes

Process capture thoughts:

  • Rank to prioritize capture, training, and implementation work
  • Capture quality criteria (verifiable, realizable, traceable, complete, correct, etc.)
  • A limited number, depth, and resolution pragmatically matched to staff-hours constraints
  • A documentation plan and management plan (different levels)
  • Opportunity for concurrent process re-engineering

Strategic change requires operational excellence.