TLS Continuum: What do we mean by Process Ownership?

In last week’s post we asked the question, who really is your process subject matter expert? In this week’s post I want to take the discussion to another view of the question. If we have assumed who the process SME is within your organization, then what are their obligations to the organization?

Deming in his 14 points of quality stated that one of the keys to quality is the removal of barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship. The subject matter expert needs to be in the position to layout what the standard of work expects from the team members. They need to demonstrate both through actions and words what is the components of the standard of work. They achieve this through very concrete actions:

  1. Attention to voice of the customer

The subject matter expert needs to understand the process to the point they can see it in the dark. They need to be cognizant enough to know when the customer is not receiving what they demanded when they demanded it. The SME has to be cognizant of what the customer is demanding and why it is not being met. They also need to know how to go about changing the process to meet those demands. Even more important they need to know the customer. They need to know how the customer acts, thinks, views the world and views their vendors. The SME needs to understand the customer’s mission, vision and most important their culture and how that culture melds with your organization’s culture.

  1. Attention to corporate buy-in

The subject matter expert needs to know the organization well enough that they can easily observe where the process is not the corporate mantra. They need to spot those human capital assets are hindering the process by throwing up obstacles to the standard of work. We have referred to this in past blog posts as the process turbulence. Often represented by those who walk the talk but not walk the l. Those assets, who talk behind your back to others in the organization, as to why the process won’t work in your organization. Those assets who are in a sense poisoning the well for the rest of the organization.

  1. Attention to the corporate message

The subject matter expert needs to assist in crafting the corporate message to the organization and to the organizational customers that when we talk quality we mean that we are dedicated to following through on our message. The subject matter expert needs to ensure that the promises are not just another hollow promise with no backing. In the long run this will hurt the organization not help.

  1. Attention to the TLS Continuum Road map

Finally, the subject matter expert needs to assist in making sure everyone from the very top and the very bottom of the organization understands the steps of the process and their responsibilities within the process. Further the SME needs to ensure that once the roadmap is in place they are not varying off the process steps.

In the end the subject matter expert can make or break a process if they do not take their responsibilities to heart. If they do not understand that the pride of workmanship that Deming talked about is not met when the SME fails to complete their responsibilities. The four areas of responsibility listed above will help them get there.


Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. assists organization’s with the creation of empowered change strategies which are customer centric, organizationally aligned and quality based in your organization.


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