Organizational development (OD) is an ongoing, systematic process of implementing effective structural change by using organizational resources to improve efficiency. It can be used to solve problems within the organization, or as a way to analyze processes and find more efficient ways of meeting goals. All organizations have work processes. “Mapping” work processes provides a common framework for all involved that enhances not only lines of communication within an organization, but also an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of staff within the organization. “Process Mapping” techniques focus on identifying, planning, and implementing improvements to each process with the ultimate goal of improving the organization’s efficiency levels.

Once the steps of a given process are identified and mapped, they are analyzed and then streamlined. This involves collectively re-examining key steps and sub-processes with stakeholders – all of the individuals who are involved with inputs and outputs of a specific process. The act of process mapping involves recording and preparing written “as-is” steps that illustrate or “map” the entire process, as well as the resources, timeline, and externalities that impact that process. Streamlining includes questioning each step in the process: Is this a relevant step? Is it a necessary one? Does it comply with rules and laws? Where does this step get placed in the overall sequence of steps? What resources are allocated to support it? Once these questions and others are answered, the identified steps in the process are simplified, reduced, some are eliminated, others are combined or their sequencing is changed. When all of this is completed, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) based on written descriptions of each step in the process are set and can be adopted.

Overall, the goal of process mapping and streamlining is to reduce the number of steps in a given process. For example, the process to obtain required permits to build a new home might not be understood or even known by applicants. The streamlining analysis provides results that reduce and/or reorganize the steps in the process and thus decrease the time it takes to complete it. For the purposes of GSP/Taqadum’s decentralization work, once the steps of a given process are streamlined, they are shared with all the provinces for adoption and are made public via government outreach efforts and campaigns to ensure transparency. In some cases, the process is placed online to allow citizens greater and easier access given applying online for such items as building permits, eliminates human interaction and thus works to reduce corruption. Also, documenting and standardizing processes will allow for a continuous organizational learning system that can get the work done in cases when the person normally in charge of that area is absent or leaves.

The ease of access and level of transparency helps to increase citizen confidence in local government. This is especially important since most of Iraq’s provincial service directorates currently offer an array of tedious and red-tape-filled bureaucratic procedures that citizens have to suffer through in order to obtain certain services. In some cases, these procedures are so difficult to maneuver, citizens are either unable to complete certain service-related transactions, or even worse, give up before actually obtaining the service. In other cases, steps can take months and are, in reality, a waste of time, human resources, effort, and cost.

Muthanna Agriculture Directorate Process Mapping Committee members reviewing how to identify citizen-related services