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Formalization of processes
Nov 16, 2022 3:00:00 PM6 min read

Formalization of processes

In the business world, there are different ways of carrying out a task, each company has its ways and protocols. When we talk about processes, the broad definition tells us that a process is everything we do; every action we carry out to achieve a result is part of a process. In the world of companies and organizations, managing by processes is a way of managing the company, it is a methodology that is used to achieve maximum efficiency in the objectives that have been set.


  1. What is process formalization?
  2. How can you formalize a process?
  3. Disadvantages of not having formalized processes
  4. How can you know if a process is already formalized?

Now, when we start working in a company and we must achieve results, we need to put into practice actions that allow us to achieve it, in this case, it is that the formalization of the processes will be helpful to us, to be able to standardize them and have a method to know how to work, a method that we can communicate and in the future, we will surely work to improve it.

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What is process formalization?

To define what process formalization is, we must first make it clear what a process is. As we said before, there are processes in all the actions that we carry out to reach a result, they have a beginning and an end. But in this case, we will base ourselves on Hammer's definition which states that processes in a company and qualifies processes as "end to end" work that adds value to the customer. We cannot consider all the processes that are carried out in a company for the formalization of processes since that would be almost infinite because, according to the macro definition, we would have as many processes as the results of actions that we carry out.

So, to discuss process formalization, we will say that we are focused on the processes that add value to customers.

The processes that are always found in a business or organizational structure are:

  • Management processes: administration, payment, collection, finance.
  • Operations processes: marketing, sales, manufacturing, logistics.
  • Support processes: systems (IT), process development, human resources.

So, what does the formalization of processes imply? By realizing the importance that these have for the development of the company, we understand that processes cross the teams, that they cross the functional areas and we need to communicate them to be able to implement them. That is when we begin to understand what the formalization of a process is. Once we have been able to identify the macro processes and take into account which ones add value to customers but also contribute to our business, we must carry out a survey to understand how work is being done, how it is formalized, how it is communicated and how much we can improve.

Process formalization does not consist of a plan drawn up by management on how such a process should be carried out to arrive at a result. If what you are trying to do is that, it is very likely that the action cannot be implemented and the attempt will fail.

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How can you formalize a process?

To achieve a correct formalization of the processes, we can talk about a series of steps, which go beyond the formal step of organizing the process. These steps are:


1. Analysis.

It consists of analyzing how we are carrying out the tasks, who is doing them, how they are being communicated, where they are managed, and why they are carried out. Being able to see what is being lost, whether or not the objectives and needs of the customer are met.


2. Design.

In this step, all of the above must be taken into account to avoid design errors. It is very important to take into account the previous analysis since it will be much easier to revert a process execution error to a design error, which modifies everything from the beginning. It is one of the most important points in the formalization of processes since if you do it well, you will save many resources in the future.


3. Documentation.

When documenting we must pay close attention. The correct documentation will allow, above all, to be scalable, it will allow all employees to see how the process is developed and prevent two or three people from being the only ones who know how to carry it out.


4. Implementation.

Having the previous steps carried out thoroughly and validated by the team, the implementation will be much simpler. Of course, when working with people, there will be some resistance to change that we will have to deal with, but if everything is validated beforehand, it is much easier to be able to do it.


5. Measurement.

Processes allow us to have indexes that we can measure and this will make it easier for us to find faults that do not allow us to reach the expected objectives. This is very important and follows from the design of the process, if a process is designed correctly it would be very easy to find the indicators.

It is important that we recognize all the steps involved in the formalization of processes and not only believe that it is the creation of a manual made by management, for example.


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Disadvantages of not having formalized processes.

The implementation of processes allows us to better manage our human resources. To manage by processes, we must have formalized processes since not having them will bring us some problems as the following:

  • It complicates the management of resources in our company. Whether human or material resources. Having formalized processes helps us in the organization and this always affects the degrees of efficiency that we can reach.

  • Not having formalized processes puts our good customer service at risk. Disorganization is noticed by consumers and this makes them not choose our services anymore. If our processes are disordered, customers will see that result and our failure will be evident to them.

  • We can make the mistake of giving a lot of importance to processes that do not generate value for the customer or the company.

  • A lack of formalized processes will lead us to hire management systems that are not needed or that we will not be able to implement correctly until we formalize the processes to do so. This translates into wasted resources.




How can you know if a process is already formalized?

The formalization of processes is an advantage that will give us scalability, it will strengthen us as a company and, above all, it will help us use our resources as efficiently as possible. To achieve it, we must stop managing each situation as unique, being able to identify the situations that are repeated with each customer, even if they are from different industries; In addition, as we said, we must focus on the processes that add value and lastly, we must know that if at any time we find a fault, we should not blame the people or the process, we simply must review how the problem arose, identify if the implementation error was by procedure or by design and from there, work to solve it.

An example of formalized processes that we can mention is a process manual implemented in a company or that employees receive when they start working. In that case, the way to reach such a result will have been evaluated, an analysis and a design were made, and then it was disseminated in the company so that all employees have the same information available on how to proceed. Of course, that is the ideal way to do it, but we know that due to the time and dedication it takes, in many companies that is something dictated by the management areas. The only thing that favors is the confusion of the workers about how to proceed, therefore, it is not recommended.


Were you able to identify in your company any process that needs formalization
or changes that contribute to value?



Drew's editorial team

A company focused on developing solutions of genuine value to other companies. We are passionate about transforming the way people work, optimizing processes and promoting business growth.

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