Putting action into words

The life cycle of different companies follows similar patterns: R&D, Procurement, Production, Sales, After Sales, and Cross Functions. Differences arise in the deliverables, procedures, the extent of the description, the assignment to internal org units or external partners, and, for instances, the names of the steps. In ANY case, the firms cannot avoid executing the business’s tasks to provide the deliverables offered. The following activities take place in all areas and cover most of the tasks: analyze, design, produce, validate, deploy, run, change/improve.

The details are described with related verbs. A work step is expressed as follows: Object + Verb (e.g., install engine; fill file). Afterwards the are assigned to a job. To make it easier for you to develop business processes, get inspired by the following more than 300 suggestions (derived from The Complete Business Process Handbook; by Rosing et al.).

  • Analyze
    As long as we do not do something instinctively and spontaneously, we start examining the initial situation. For this, we look at the whole or parts of it. With the mechanistic worldview of the last four hundred years, the whole was continuously broken down into its parts, which were then examined independently of each other – even if the vital connections got lost in the process. As a result, today, we still have nerds who look at ever smaller sections without considering the context and without obtaining a living study object.
    Verbs of the examination are assembled under the term analyze, e.g.
    ascertain, capture, categorize, check, clarify, classify, collect, compile, consider, count, diagnose, direct, discover, divide, elicit, explore, find out, forecast, hold, identify, inquire, investigate, learn, lookahead, lookback, observe, predict, probe, question, recognize, research, search, structure, study, teach, think, understand.
  • Design
    The conscious design of something includes all its components, structure and interaction, and the description of its essential properties. The complexity of the results and the need to share them with others require documentation as a list, drawing, plan, or other multimedia evidence eventually. That way, waste of resources due to double work and unnecessary attempts and errors will be avoided. With the example of a job description, the elements become visible: e.g., objectives, content, tasks, competencies, and relations to other jobs.
    The verbs of composition in the broadest sense are found under the generic term design, e.g.
    arrange, begin, characterize, choose, classify, cluster, compare, compose, conceive, construct, convene, describe, design, develop, devise, draft, elaborate, enumerate, format, formulate, found, group, indicate, list, mindmap, negotiate, obtain, organize, outline, plan, prepare, project, propose, scribble, structure, systematize, target, unify, visualize.
  • Produce
    When an object is manufactured, one or many parts are made and assembled – ideally based on a drasft (see above). To do this, raw materials, parts, and components are manufactured and assembled into a product. For natural products (such as grains, fruits, fish), products are grown, tended, and eventually harvested. The tasks required to do this can be assigned internally or externally.
    The verbs of production are grouped below the generic term produce, e.g.
    arouse, assemble, breed, build, bundle, code, combine, configure, constitute, coordinate, cope with, create, define, delete, discuss, distribute, do, drive, drive-in, elevate, enact, enlarge, erect, evoke, fabricate, fill, finalize, gather, grind, handle, ignite, increase, insure, layout, lead, manufacture, operate, order, packing, paint, perform, polish, post-process, prepare, purchase, scan, sell, translate, trigger, undertake.
  • Validate
    Evaluating situations, facts, results, and people provide an assessment of their quality – from gut feeling to likes to elaborate certification. The evaluators can be suppliers, purchasers, or neutral third parties. The valuations influence the satisfaction or, in extreme cases, lead to the rejection of the acceptance. They mainly take place in milestones, which have a decisive influence on the work progress.
    All types of evaluation can be found under the generic term validate, e.g.
    accept, analyze, appraise, appreciate, assess, audit, censor, check, classify, confirm, control, criticize, estimate, examine, explore, find, gauge, grade, inspect, interpret, judge, measure, monitor, pattern, pilot, predict, prioritize, probe, quantify, rank, recalculate, recommend, recount, reevaluate, reflect, reject, review, sample, test, verify, view, weigh.
  • Deploy
    The ultimate result is delivered, assembled, or provided at specific places. This step marks the end of manufacturing. Sometimes the products must be delivered to a particular place and set up for use. The services are prepared to the extent that they can be performed at any time.
    Under the generic term making deploy, corresponding verbs can be found, e.g.
    achieve, activate, allocate, apply, assimilate, breakup, bring, buildup, carry, cause, chain, close, complete, convey, deliver, deposit, employ, enclose, export, furnish, generate, implement, initiate, instigate, integrate, lay down, leave over, lineup, load, migrate, offer, passion, pass over, place, progress, provide, ramp-up, set aside, set before, set down, setup, stratify, supply, train, transfer, transport, unload.
  • Run
    Any doing involves one or more activities, takes a certain amount of time, and eventually produces a mental or material outcome (see also Produce). The execution can be performed based on an order, a specification, or the performer’s intuition and imagination. The fulfillment may involve manual, intellectual, or social activities. The less the accomplishment is described, the more random and, above all, different will be the individual execution and outcome.
    Under the topic run, you find corresponding verbs, e.g.
    accomplish, assign, broadcast, calculate, communicate, conclude, conserve, decide, document, effect, engage, establish, exchange, execute, explain, finish, fix, fulfill, govern, guide, instruct, keep, launch, maintain, make, manage, operate, perform, preserve, process, procure, promote, protect, realize, recharge, register, reinstate, report, respond, run, save, serve, set forth, settle, setup, start, stop, support, take up, wait.
  • Change/Improve
    The changes are similar to the creation of ideas and things (see above). However, they also include dealing with the background and the affected people. They are divided into two groups: 1) The first-order changes are improvements that leave the object alive and make the parts better. 2) The second-order changes are the disruptions that replace the item or make it disappear completely, renewing the whole.
    Under the generic term change/improve, you find corresponding verbs, e.g.
    adapt, align, alter, change, condense, convert, correct, decrease, diminish, discontinue, edit, eliminate, escalate, expand, free, glorify, improve, incorporate, modernize, modify, optimize, perfect, precise, rearrange, redirect, reduce, reform, refurbish, regulate, remodel, renew, renovate, reorganize, replace, repurpose, reset, reshape, restore, restrict, restructure, rethink, revise, revolutionize, rework, rotate, shift, standardize, swap, switch.

Bottom line: The language is living – googling, clicking, updating, etc. This means that an ultimate list of verbs will not be possible, as new activities are always being added. The above examples (from the seven areas: analyze, design, produce, validate, deploy, run, change/improve) serve as inspiration for those who are describing procedures. The responsible people should always create their glossary with typical terms since this, on the one hand, facilitates the description of the functions and, on the other hand, creates a common vocabulary. When several people are working together, there is no way to avoid putting actions into words so that everyone understands and thus knows what needs to be done.