How to quickly identify your RPA team’s strengths and weaknesses

When you’re in the mists of ‘doing automation’ it is sometimes hard to find the time to take a speak back and understand what is and isn’t working in your RPA delivery. Make projects have stalled, staff aren’t as engaged anymore, or key stakeholders are looking elsewhere to invest their budget to save time and money, like in outsourcing.

I can’t now remember which business psychology book I had read this, however an important point it made was that you can’t perform whilst you’re in a learning phase and you can’t learn when you’re in a performing stage. This is why in our AEIO YOU methodology, reflection is a keep step in RPA delivery.

You can’t perform whilst you’re in a learning phase, and you can’t learn when you’re in performing stage

I’ve seen many teams that have processes and frameworks set up and keep running and hitting a brick wall, repeating this action each time, hoping the wall may eventually break (though you may run out of money due to minimal results before that happens).

So, here are a handful of questions to ask your self, your business and your team at each stage of the AEIO YOU method to help you identify where you may have potential areas of improvement in your RPA team and implementation process, which may encourage finding a new method that fits your situation

A: Aware & Align

Are YOU Aware?

It’s vitally important to win hearts and minds by being visible and taking key stakeholders along with you through the transformation journey.

  1. Can you and your RPA team clearly articulate in a sentence or two what RPA and intelligent automation is?
  2. Do senior managers in Operations, IT and HR understand how RPA and intelligent automation can impact and benefit their teams and departments?
  3. Do directors and C-levels understand how RPA and intelligent automation can fit into the organisation’s strategy? And do they have congruent realistic expectations?
  4. Do team leaders and staff members understand how RPA and intelligent automation can enhance their performance, productivity and job satisfaction?
  5. Do your RPA and Intelligent Automation Centre of Excellence and Operational Excellence teams understand the various myths and challenges as mentioned, and are they aware of how to avoid common pitfalls?

Otherwise can you combine several RPA hubs or centralise resources, tools, and knowledge so you can learn and improve faster?

  1. Are all RPA opportunities identified, assessed, and measured in the same way?
  2. Do all developers and support engineers work to the same coding standards?
  3. Do you have a standard tool kit, including checkpoint criteria and templates for each stage of automation lifecycle?

E: Educate & Empower 

Are they educated?

Test whether your Centre of Excellence (CoE) team has educated your entire staff:

  1. Can key stakeholders and staff involved in RPA projects clearly explain what RPA is, and what the benefits are at a business, department, and individual level?
  2. Have you connected with HR to educate them on the emotional impact of digital transformation with regards to new career paths and incentive structures?
  3. Has everyone in the teams you’ve targeted for automation attended at least one lunch & learn session or workshop?
  4. Do teams understand what the eight types of waste are?
  5. Do team managers understand what metrics must/should be collected to assess a process’s performance and suitability for RPA?
  6. Does your CoE have its own intranet portal with information, shareable material, and a forum for requests and questions?

Do they feel empowered?

Verify that your CoE is providing the tools, templates, guidance, and training need to accelerate your digital transformation strategy:

  1. Has each team interested in RPA been given an automation catalogue template and guidance?
  2. Is the CoE having regular communication with teams who are pursuing RPA to ensure they are using the right tools, and using them in the right way?
  3. Has the CoE received any positive feedback or interest from staff keen to learn more about the technology or take on more responsibility to assist in identifying and assessing opportunities?
  4. Has HR communicated that the CoE may provide new roles in the near future?

 I: Inspect & Ideate

Inspect: Have you identified and prioritised opportunities?

Review these questions below to confirm that your team has prioritized your automation candidates in a logical way:

  1. Have you measured your processes by effort (AHT x volume) and potential saving?
  2. Do you know which handful of processes make up 80% of all your team’s effort?
  3. Have you reviewed your top processes in detail to understand their complexity?
  4. Have you plotted your top processes by Effort, Benefit, and Ease of Implementation on the Complexity quadrant?
  5. Have you provided the leadership team with a visualization of the makeup the department’s processes so that they can strategically prioritise which processes to automate first?

Ideate: Have your solutions involved all the right people?

It’s important to include those stakeholders that may cause or be affected by the existing problem and may be impacted by the solution when implemented:

  1. Have you involved key stakeholders from the team(s) that are upstream from your process, who feed information into your target team?
  2. Have you involved key stakeholders from the team(s) that are downstream from the process, who receive information from your team?
  3. Do all the root causes identified by the workshop group relate to all the problems being experienced in the target team?
  4. Have you first considered lean process re-engineering?
  5. Did you have a technical expert present in your solution design workshop?
  6. Did you have full participation with everyone’s opinions being heard and respected?

O: Optimise 

Are your processes lean?

Before moving to the automating stage, look back and see how much waste you’ve removed from the process and see if you now have a lean process to automate.

Remember that the purpose of Lean Six Sigma is to meet the customer’s expectations as fast as possible, and in RPA and intelligent automation, Lean Six Sigma can greatly increase the ROI of your initiatives. See how well you can answer these questions:

  1. Have you identified all eight wastes in your target process and team?
  2. Have you mapped out your target team or process in a SIPOC?
  3. Have you identified non-value-added areas using a VSM?
  4. Is your CoE’s physical and digital work environment organized using the 5 S method and ready to scale?
  5. Have you run a root cause workshop and used the 5 whys to discover what the potential root causes are for the inefficiencies in your target team?
  6. How much waste have you eliminated in the proposed future state model, even before you automate?

Y: Yield 

Are you getting value?

The big question clients, stakeholders, and senior leadership will ask is, are they getting value from this digital workforce? Look at these questions to make sure your team can answer this:

  1. Was performance of the processes measured accurately before they were automated?
  2. Do you have visibility of your bots’ performance, via logs and a dashboard?
  3. Do your internal/external clients have visibility on how their bots are performing?
  4. Are you regularly tracking the bots’ and CoE’s performance metrics that answer the right questions?
  5. Have you found ways to quantify qualitative data? (cost of errors/re-work, using Net Promoter Scores etc)
  6. Have your robot performance indicators helped teams discover potential ways to improve on the most common systems and business exceptions?

O: Organise & Oversee 

Are you in control?

Go through these questions to confirm whether your Support team have all their bots under control and the team has a scalable structure.

  1. Do you have someone carrying out each role shown in the Support CoE structure (even if some of your team are wearing several hats)?
  2. Do you have a transition manager who is a separate person to the developer and support engineer?
  3. Do both the Development and Support teams use the same agreed coding standards, best practices, criteria, and knowledge base?
  4. Do you regularly provide process owners with bot health and performance reports and discuss seasonal or future volume increases?
  5. Do you have a prioritization mechanism and triage process for handling requests and defects?
  6. Are you continuously looking to optimise your CoE through the same lens as when inspecting a BAU team? (automate repetitive tasks, using self-service portal for clients and process owners).

U: Uncover, Upgrade & Upskill 

Have you identified ways to enhance your bots to gain more benefits?

Keep circling back to the beginning of the AEIO YOU lifecycle to stay aware of new emerging technology and education.

  1. Is your team aware of the plethora of different types of AI capabilities on the market? (e.g. chatbots, ICR/OCR)
  2. Have you meet with different AI vendors and watched demos of what their products are capable of doing for your business?
  3. Have you run any POCs with vendors to demonstrate first-hand how much value their ‘bots’ can add to your CoE team?
  4. How serious (or nervous) is your business at implementing AI into their business processes?

Want to get a clearer understanding of your RPA/CoE teams stregnths and weaknesses, take our straightforward multiple choice test and receive a free report that scores each sections and breaks down your results with useful actions you can use today to improve


You can learn more about implementing RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and intelligent automation at Lean IA Consulting

You can read about these tips and tools used in their AEIO YOU method in their new book Business @ the Speed of Bots, How to implement RPA that scales

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