Title image, cartoon of a PPR

Fundamentals for PPR to work

This workshop adopts a simple approach to process mapping whilst acknowledging that a whole plethora of advice is available to satisfy people who would like to progress to greater complexity.

Outlined below are some key fundamental consideration points to ensuring your Participative Process Review workshop has a successful outcome.

Types of process reviews

This toolkit is designed to enable teams and cross functional teams to take time out of their normal work activities to review their localised processes. Whilst not intended to be used for large complex University wide processes the PPR approach has since been found to be effective for these as well.

This toolkit is not intended for very specialised or regulated processes which have adopted a more sophisticated set of symbols and protocols for process mapping. This could be IT related processes or industry specific processes.

Identifying the culture where PPRs work best

Participative Processes Reviews will work best in cultures where people are encouraged to be

  • open and honest
  • continuous learners
  • able to admit and learn from making mistakes
  • ask questions and challenge where appropriate
  • evaluate risks of doing something new
  • empowered to make own decisions

and where

  • management is supportive
  • absence of blame culture

In some instances the introduction of PPR workshops have been a contributory factor in fostering such a culture.

Key participant roles

A key requirement for the effectiveness of any process review is that key roles are identified.

The process study sponsor ideally should be the person who has responsibility for the process.

In some (or many) cases they may not have ownership of the whole process. Where this is the case they should seek consensus with other process owners to be the sponsor of the process review study.

Key role for the Process Study Sponsor is

  • at the start to commission the process review by preparing in collaboration with the Study Review Leader a draft terms of reference;
  • in the middle champion and support the process review;
  • at the end ensure the recommendations of the process review report are translated into actions which deliver the revised process and associated benefits.

Process study review leader

The process study review leader is the person who takes on the responsibility of organising and conducting the process review through the six stages.

This involves

  • the compiling of the terms of reference (with the Process Study Sponsor);
  • planning and preparing the review logistics, communication, and so on;
  • conducting the initial diagnostics;
  • carrying out interviews and facilitating workshops;
  • analytical follow up if required;
  • compiling and writing of the process review report.

Workshop facilitator

Depending upon the talents available within your organisation the workshop facilitator could be

  • the Process Study Review Leader,
  • a colleague who has good facilitation skills and would available to facilitate your workshop, or
  • an external facilitator.

Having someone who is independent and detached from the process under review brings advantages as they will often be neutral. More information in relation to the role of facilitator can be found in the delegate handouts section.

Workshop loggist/recorder

For the workshop day to be effective it is important that someone takes on the role of loggist/recorder. Alot of information is generated throughout the day. Having a loggist/recorder enables the facilitator to concentrate on facilitating the workshop. The loggist should be adept at quick note taking. It is not unusual for the facilitator to pause proceedings to allow the loggist to capture key information. At key points the loggist may be asked to summarise key points to help participants review what might go into the end process review report.

Process Review team members

The Review team members are the ones providing their experience, knowledge, challenge and creativity to the workshop. See The Key to Good Process Mapping by (Graham, 2006).

Process end users

Consideration should be given as to whether the end user (customer or student) is also represented at the workshop. The merits for having or not having this representation will vary on a case by case basis. If representation is not invited to participate at the actual workshop then consultation with the end users should occur prior to the finalising of the process review report.

Please note: For the workshop part of the review to be effective it is important that you get the right cross section of stakeholders in the room especially if they have the authority to initiate or empower decision making. This will entail the logistical challenge of diarising for such an event.

Slow fuse approach to PPRs

An automatic response expressed by some delegate feedback is a desire to jump straight to mapping a new process. On reflection (post workshop) they often appreciate (or understand) the value in taking a slower build up approach to the review. You will hopefully discover that by spending time

  • refining the draft terms of reference will:
    • bring out key issues;
    • share and empower ownership of the process under review;
    • be an agreed joint decision (and therefore engagement) to proceed to the next stages;
  • reviewing the “as is” process will:
    • surface key issues which need remedying, identifying dependencies which need accommodating, and so on;
    • bring out people's anxieties;
    • start people thinking and discussing possible future solutions.


Graham, B. S. (2006) The Key to Good Process Mapping. Available at http://www.worksimp.com/articles/the%20key%20to%20good%20process%20mapping.pdf [Accessed on 02 October 2015].