The Process Jour Fixe

What is it?

The process jour fixe is a periodic structured meeting with the extended process team with the purpose of maintaining and developing the standard process, whereby the standard process is a moving target.


The objective of the process jour fixe is not primarily to improve processes, rather it is a governance platform to ensure that the current process and future process changes are understood and agreed by all key process stakeholders and coded in the organisation’s formal process documentation. This is a key management task to ensure that the live process, the agreed process and the documented process are the same – only when this synchronicity is established do we have a coherent standard process.

The process jour fixe provides a platform to reconcile current and intended practice against the multitude of forces that drive process change. These forces of process change can be triggers of improved business process performance such as legitimate new customer needs, technological advancements, improved expertise or insights from benchmarking or improvement initiatives. Such changes should be systematically incorporated into the process standard. Or they can be forces of arbitrary change that work against an effective standard such as individual personal work-arounds in the IT system, ad-hoc improvisation to manage new customer needs, illegitimate customer needs that do not add value to the end-to-end value chain, additional work to accomodate for poor process interfaces and many more. The process jour fixe provides a platform to identify and eliminate these.

Of course there are many methods to define and develop a standard process be it lean management, performance dialog, continuous improvement, internal or external audits or the definition of process governance roles. But amidst these forces of change the process jour fix provides a short moment to reconcile and get everyone on the same page and to together document that page. Without a conscious effort to regularly bring everyone on board with the agreed standard, the forces of change will create multiple islands of diverse process practice that are impossible to manage and improve systematically.

Participants – The Extended Process Team

The process jour fixe requires a diverse set of participants to ensure all stakeholder views and the required expertise is present in the room. The simultaneous availability of all views gives the process jour fix its power and the ability make immediate and final agreements based on a full set of expertise. This group of people is what I call the extended process team. This could include the following roles (remember a person can act in multiple roles) – this is a broad set of people, but having everyone on board ensures that agreements hold:

Process Managerinitiates the meeting and makes final decisions
Moderatorstructures and leads through the meeting ensuring that the input from all participants is well considered, ensures that changes are documented and agreed or defined as follow-up tasks
Process Modelervisualises process changes as a basis for discussion and agreement
Process coachguides the team to incorporate process thinking, lean principles and best practices into the process design
Representatives from adjacent customer processesprovide insights into the nature of the required process output
End-To-End process managerexplain the process purpose and decide on process interface questions, ensure the end-to-end process design is optimised
QM department membercontribute compliance and audit-related input
IT solution architectensure optimal utilisation of the existing standard software
Key usersevaluate the current process against their own understanding and the input from other members of the extended proces team and agree on the current process or propose a to-be process design
Usersprovide input on the actual live process and pain points and contribute to to-be process design
Consultantprovide an outside view and additional process expertise that none else in the company has (this will be an optional and less frequent role)
Roles of the extended process team


There should be a process jour fixe for each process at least once a year. That works for processes where the standard is well established. If a process has recently been implemented or if there have been many recent changes then the frequency can be temporarily increased to every 3-6 months.

If the extended process team can agree on and document all changes within the jour fixe, then you are on track.

Workshop Approach

Depending on the scope of the process and the maturity of the current standard you will normally need to schedule between 2 hours and a day for a process jour fixe.

The procedure is simple – it is basically about enabling an open and constructive discussion based on a common view of the process. The common view of the process is the as-is documentation – having a good quality version of this is a prerequisite to running a process jour fixe.

Based on the as-is process documentation you can follow these steps:

  • Welcome the team and recap the purpose and agenda of the meeting
  • Present the process scope and purpose
  • Summarise change forces related to the process
  • Walk through the documented as-is process step-by-step in detail
    • For administrative or IT-based processes ideally show the process documentation on one screen and walk-through the execution on a second screen; for shop-floor processes do a physical walk through
    • for each step validate whether the documented as-is process represents actual practice or if there is improvement potential
    • If there is improvement potential or a need for change then open the discussion how the process should be
    • Ensure that all view-points of the extended process team are included and duly considered – this is key to the effectiveness of the meeting
    • Visualise the to-be process to provide a common basis for the discussion
    • Code agreed changes in the formal process documentation for subsequent formal submission
    • For larger changes that need further research, define follow-up tasks
  • Define how the process changes will be implemented
  • Define how follow-up tasks will be monitored (the process manager is accountable for this)
  • Set the (rough) time of the next process jour fixe

In summary, the primary outputs of the workshop are

  • a final process documentation that is ready for submission for publication based on
  • a common understanding and agreement and
  • a list of follow-up tasks (if any)

A secondary but essential output is the expertise and the insights that the participants have gained during the workshop discussions. This could be the input from an IT solution architect on how to better utilise the system, a reminder on a compliance issue by the QM manager or, most importantly, deeper insights into the needs of the process customer and the process purpose.

Final Thoughts

As with all techniques the effectiveness of the process jour fix will depend on how well it is executed and on how well it complements other techniques as part of an overall methodology.

Running the process jour fix effectively is primarily a matter of having the right people in the room and enabling an open but structured discussion and capturing and agreeing on the outcomes.

Making the process jour fix an effective element of an overall methodology is about identifying the outputs of each method or technique and designing these to constitute a coherent system. The process jour fixe is a useful platform to ensure outputs from methods that trigger process change are systematically coded in the process standard.

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