Role process owner?

1 June 2017 posted by Arno Schilders Process owner

When defining processes, we like to work with a so-called "process owner", but who is this and what should this person do? I would like to give more clarity in this article.


We believe that with the right people at the table, you can achieve anything.


There is a need to look a bit further before we have accomplished that, such as establishing requirements and facilitating the process so that people voluntarily take responsibility. Finding the right people and especially finding the right person to take the role of process owner is essential!


'Process Owner' is not just a 'badge of honour' but a key role in any organization!


What should we consider when we search for a process owner? First of all, I think about the interest and position of the process owner:



Without interest no action, so the intended person must be interested in the proper functioning of the process in question. This is often someone who has a certain seniority in this process and would like to work well to organize the process in question. It can also be someone who already has a coordinating role within the team responsible for the particular process. This is preferably not an exempt manager, but rather a "co-operative foreman".



Ideally, the process owner is "as low as possible" in the organization, so it accurately knows how it goes into practice and also "high enough" so that it can see what is needed and what the consequences of choices are. This person must be given the mandate to take decisions within the frameworks. And then we certainly do not think of a management team member, because they are often too far away from practice (and just the one to define the frameworks).


These are 'as low as possible' in the organization and also 'high enough'.


What else is important? I would like to look ahead to the key responsibilities of the process owner:


  • Process design
    When designing the optimal process that meets the frameworks, the process owner has a leading role. In fact, he is the one who decides with his team how the process will be arranged. We often facilitate this, but the process owner decides if there are multiple options, just because he has the overview.
  • Improvement points
    If the design shows that changes are required then they must also be followed up. This may include new or modified documents, improvement or renewal of required software tools, but also for shifting or new responsibilities. He does not have to do that himself, but he is responsible for ensuring that this is arranged and controlled.
  • Implement changes
    If the required changes are arranged, the other stakeholders also need to be informed and trained so that everyone will work in the new way. This is also an important responsibility for the process owner and may include a lot.
  • Monitor the process
    When an organization makes changes, we will always get back down. We are busy or unaware and fall back into old habits. The intended results are often left behind and that's not what we want. To avoid this, it must be ensured that the new method continues to be applied. This includes checking the work, repeating the importance, but also independent verification through internal audits. These must be performed on behalf of the process owner.


We define these responsibilities in processes such as 'Process Management', 'Continuous Improvement' and 'Internal Audits', which are included in a management system by default. In the former, of course, all steps will be taken to determine and adjust a process, including the corresponding responsibilities of the other stakeholders.


Do you want to know more about it or try it out for yourself?


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