Stages of a PoC
Brainstorm with a team of interested employees about processes that could be ideal candidates for the PoC. Don't discount any idea until after you've assessed the process in a logical manner. Have employees think of their daily tasks. Which tasks are time consuming and low value? Which tasks are boring? Which tasks require critical thinking and judgement?
Prioritize the processes that have a high volume, or a long duration, and have predictable outputs. If critical thinking or judgement is required, the process may be hard to automate. Ensure that your automation partner understands the steps of the process and verifies that the process can actually be automated.
Map out the as-is process using flowcharts and process profiles. If you can modify the process to make it easier, faster, simpler, or better; do it now. It is easier to make changes to the process before you start to program the PoC. Create a Process Design Document.
Verify process steps
After mapping the process out and possibly making changes, bring the documentation to a process expert. Go through the steps on the computer with that person, and talk through possible exceptions, errors, problems or situations with them. Attempt to find any issues now, as it is easier to code them in on the first try. Record a video of the computer screen while going through the process.
After finishing the planning stages, development can begin. The RPA Developer will work from the Process Design Document. Ensure that if the developer has any questions about the process that they are addressed by the process expert themselves. Almost all testing for the process should be carried out in this stage.
User acceptance testing
Have the process expert test the automation and watch the process complete multiple times. Verify that the process inputs are correctly handled, and that the process outputs are correct. If any new exceptions are found, ensure they are fixed before going to the next stage.
Hyper-care & go live!
The automation is now live and in production! Extra attention should be focused on monitoring the process. The reliability of the process should be near 100%. Any exceptions or issues that arise should be handled by the automation automatically.
Reflect and make improvements
The automation should be reliable and effective now. Reflect on the PoC and the many actions and decisions that were made. Update the Process Design Document with the knowledge you have now. Gather feedback and compare it to the expectations from the start of the PoC.