ProcessCafe blog: Five Simple Questions, No Easy Answers

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ProcessCafe blog -- Five Simple Questions, No Easy Answers - The process version
Once again I defer to Amber Naslund over at the Altitude branding blog for her excellent post entitled Five Simple Questions, No Easy Answers.

It prompted me to see if there are similar questions that could arise in the process world

1. If you could change something about the way process management is tackled as it is right now, what would that be? Why would that improve things?

2. Give me a definition of 'process management' for a newbie, and you can’t use the words “BPM”, “Software as a service”, "process" or “tool”.

3. I’m a successful company, and I’m not yet looking at managing my processes or defining a process management capability. Why should it matter to me if what I’m doing isn’t broken?

4. Tell me the real challenges I’ll encounter as a business when I’m starting managing my processes. Now tell me why I should bother overcoming those when I have enough issues to deal with already - especially in this current economic environment.

5. Take 'process management' out of the sandbox. Tell me how else it moves business forward, operationally, culturally, otherwise, and how I can justify the cost of doing this.

What other questions are bugging you? (I have one more)

6. If people keep talking about BPM as something that is tool based, does it mean that I can't do this without spending money on equipping my organisation with these tools?

1. There are two major enablers for carrying out the optimisation of the enterprise as a whole:
a) tools and pertinent information to help people in better decision making, and
b) a guarantee that the enterprise is capable of implementing the necessary changes at the required pace.

2. BPM discipline allows you to model, automate, execute, control, measure and optimise the flow of business activities that span the enterprise’s systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries

3. There are two ways people use their cars – change each 3 years or use them up to complete break then buy a new one. Check what is the way of the majority of Management Board and follow their arguments.

4. Architecture. Thanks to the current economic environment even the G20 understood that a complex arrangement should start with its architecture.

5. Done correctly, BPM will add unprecedented flexibility and will become an enabler for your business innovations.

6. There are BPM discipline, enterprise BPM system (portfolio of the business processes as well as the practices and tools for governing the design, execution and evolution of this portfolio) and BPM suite (coherent set of software tools for facilitating the implementation of a BPM system). You may implement your enterprise BPM system without a BPM suite, but the latter can simplify such an implementation.



Gary Comerford said...

Some interesting answers. I would make the following comments based on an initial read of these.

Answer 1)
I would summarise 1) as "Get the right people and ALL the right people involved and give them the right skill set"

Answer 2)
My personal issue with this is that everyone talks about BPM without really understanding what they mean. I deliberately didn't mention BPM anywhere in the body of my post (apart from the last question specifically) because I think it is open to misinterpretations. The question is can we replace BPM with 'process management' without subverting the meaning. The answer is "yes", although the definition does sound a lot like something you would read in a text book. Is this an explanation I could give to, say a 55 year old CEO who has resisted technology? probably not.

Answer 3)
I am of the school of thought that cars should be used until they break up, not needlessly replaced every 3 years. But I am of the school of thought that says processes should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. I'm not sure your answer conveys this message, or did I misunderstand?

Answer 4)
I guess with this i was looking for an answer that aligns very well with the answer you gave to question 1. Basically the challenge is the same as you have with ay major change project: getting the buy-in from the people and giving them the right skiil set to be successful

Answer 5)
I agree totally with this, I also believe that done properly process management will become a profit centre rather than a cost centre. There's your business case, right there!

Answer 6)
If BPM is defined as having a process to manage your processes then a tool is not needed. A tool is desirable, but it doesn't have to be a large expensive tool from one of the main suppliers. Of course it makes it easier if you have it, but Excel and Word can be your tools of choice when you start.

Thanks for your thoughtful answers in reply to the question on my post. I appreciate you taking the time to do this.


Alexander Samarin said...

Interesting discussion. Let us continue.

Answer 1)
Mainly about giving existing people right combination of tools (via architecture) – tools to measure performance, tools to derive improvements and tools to implement changes.

Answer 2)
I noticed that to be adopted, BPM should be explained (how it addresses people’s concerns and how it changes people’s work for the better) to practically everyone at an enterprise – top managements, line managements, super-users, users, IT architects, IT developers, etc. Important that for each type of people, such an explanation must be different. My text for top managers:
“The BPM is not about how to make your products better, different and more attractive for the market place – this is for the top managers to decide. What it offers is to help enterprises reduce the overheads in doing so. The reduction will come from continual improvements in the BPM system itself – each new project will be carried out under the same architecting and implementation guidelines and practical help, thus aligning people’s understanding and different practices, tools, methods, processes and services. At one moment, your flexible BPM system will become an enabler for your business innovations.”

Answer 3)
Your understanding is correct.

Answer 4)
Both architecture and people are equally important (see point 2). A lot of good tools are already available.

Thanks for your feedback,