About Outside-In, BPM and EA

Just an opinion about the “outside-in” because of the recent debates in the BPM blogsphere, e.g. http://process-cafe.blogspot.com/2010/11/great-outside-in-debate.html

I found the Steve’s training course rather good and I consider outside-in (OI) as a good process optimization technique. 6 Sigma optimizes process to reduce number of errors within the process; OI optimizes the process from the customer’s participation perspective.

To be able to use OI, it is necessary to make in your BPM practice a customer as the EXPLICIT PARTICIPANT of the process – please, allocate a pool for this role (as Thomas shown in his great presentation -- http://taraneon.de/blog/2009/10/01/let-coffee-be-your-guide-to-process-experience/). My example is the submission interface pattern -- http://www.slideshare.net/samarin/process-practical-patterns-si (download it first to play the animation).

You don’t see a customer (end-user who pays our salaries) in your process? Do not worry! Exploit your enterprise architecture to find out all RELATIONSHIPs between your processes, roles and other artefacts and make them (relationships) EXPLICT thus trace a way from “a nail the shoe was lost” to “a battle the kingdom was lost”.



Yet another explanation of the Business Process Management (BPM) discipline

Using processes to better manage an enterprise involves the following operations with processes (very similar to PMI methodology - http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.com/2010/11/methodological-similarities-between-bpm.html):
- modelling / planning
- automation / instrumentation
- executing
- controlling
- measuring
- optimising

In many enterprises those operations are carry out by different people (actually by different roles) and often different "languages" to describe processes are used by those roles (IT is the worth example among them). Each time when information (i.e. process description) moves from one role to another, there are some "translation" errors.

Imagine that you want to prepare a corporate document within an enterprise in which everyone translates this document in his/her unique language before making modifications. It is a very inefficient way of communication and coordination.

Exactly this issue is addressed by BPM which recommends to use one master description of business processes for all mentioned above operations. Of course, such a master description may be transformed (translated) to some secondary languages for particular purposes of a particular operation. For example, some international organisations produce their documents in many languages, but the master copy is developed in only one language.



EBIZQ.net: What key methods do you use for applying design patterns in BPM?

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I believe in tools that worked in practice. For this reason I like patterns. Unfortunately some of them e.g. some “workflow patterns” are a bit difficult for the users. So, I collected about 20 practical patterns (simple and advanced) in my book and in my blog http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.com/search/label/practical%20process%20patterns

I would like to be able to construct a business process (a template or an instance on on-a-fly) from small process fragments (similar to the chess game in which we have standard combinations). Some of them will be predefined in a library of process patterns, some of them have to be created on demand. (More about this in http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.com/2010/04/let-us-architect-use-of-existing.html).

For me, the closest match to patterns are macro-commands which we had in assemblers at run-time. Of course, now we need them at design time.



Methodological similarities between BPM and PMI

I noticed a good match between methodologies:

BPM disciplinePMI
model (or plan)
automate (or instrument)
monitoring and controlling



Linkedin: ACM is a very naughty boy

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@Syed “BPM as a business discipline (not as a technology) should consists of at a high level two different kind of process architecture patterns, sequential (e.g. flow charting) and non-sequential & ad-hoc processes”

If we go back a reference model and define BPM as “process-oriented management discipline to help an enterprise to realise its vision, by managing the flow of business activities in a holistic way thus considering together modeling (or planning), automation, execution, control, measurement and optimization of business processes” then we can see that there is no fundamental difference between “sequential” and “non-sequential” processes. All depends on how OFTEN those 6 BPM functions (model, automate, execute, control, measure, and optimise) are applied:
  • once before many process instances
  • once before each process instance
  • a few times within the process instance or
  • before/after each activity in the process instance.
Classic BPMS (BPM as technology) do well the first option. The business want to have a possibility to change option as necessary (similar to the gearbox). So, no need for yet another process-oriented discipline – “just” make better tools based on a good theory (which is still lacking a reference model and reference architectures).

See also http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.com/2010/04/let-us-architect-use-of-existing.html