About 14 is the limit for readability at a reasonable font size for a 1-page diagram. Having more than 14 probably means that some of the processes depicted are actually sub-processes of the organisation’s Key Business Processes and therefore should not be shown. In the past, most of our client organizations specified somewhere between 5 and 14 Key Business Processes. The danger in having too many Key Business Processes is that the organization may not have enough senior people to act as part-time Process Managers and not enough people to populate the Projects needed to deploy the strategic Objectives each quarter.

Prior to facilitating the initial 2-day Strategic Planning Workshop at the start of Year 1, we recommend that you prepare a preliminary draft of the organization’s 1-page Process Model for rapid ratification/amendment during the Workshop.

Here is an example of a pre-workshop draft Process Model that had a few too many (17) Key Business Processes. The company’s management team thought that by having a more detailed breakdown of the Key Business Processes, subsequent implementation steps would be easier. In fact, the opposite is true. All 24 Key Processes would of course have needed a part-time Process Manager, and deployment of strategic Objectives via quarterly Projects sponsored by individual Process Managers would have been onerous if not impossible from a resourcing perspective.

We therefore encouraged this company to adopt a simpler version of their Process Model as follows:

As part of this simplification, the process: ‘Pay our Bills’ was deemed to be part of ‘Manage Financial Resources’.

This was a relatively large SME. With this revised Process Model, they did have sufficient senior people for all Process Manager roles and sufficient people to handle the reduced number of quarterly Projects that needed to be resourced by employees in small autonomous teams.

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