7 Characteristics of a Business Process

A business process is a defined series of actions or steps required to achieve a particular outcome. It can be described based on the following 7 characteristics of a business process:

  1. Scope: Starting and end point for the series of steps.
  2. Purpose: Overall objective or reason why the process is performed.
  3. Steps: Specific actions performed by team members.
  4. Sequence: Order in which steps are performed.
  5. Team members: Individuals that perform the steps.
  6. Outcome: The specific product, service or result that comes from executing the process.
  7. Customer: Next process, requestor, or end-user of the outcome.

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Bonus Section: Policy, Task, Process and Procedure Definitions

When considering operational improvement and working on the 7 characteristics of a business process, it’s important to be clear about definitions.

Icon of a policy documentPolicy – A statement of expected conduct, often administered with processes and procedures. Policy isn’t expected to cover all nuances. Rather, it’s a guideline for how to act, leaving room for personal judgement. Not to be taken lightly, roaming outside of policy guidelines can mean big trouble.

Icon of a task document


Task – A specific job or activity carried out by an individual. Often described by a Work Instruction or checklist, tasks are the most basic unit of work.


Diagram of a manufacturing process and cellular arrangement


Process – A set of connected tasks designed to change the form, fit or function of a product or service. It is often carried out by a work unit or team, and participants are aware of the connected nature of their work together.



Diagram that shows a schematic of a procedrue

Procedure – A series of connected processes conducted by individuals, departments and functions along a value chain that delivers a product or service — often the final result of the enterprise. Participants often don’t recognize their connectivity, or how their output impacts one another.

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