Session Notes from BPMCamp: BPM Insights into Continuous Improvement

Scott Francis
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We started off BPMCAMP right with a presentation from one of our customers – Sean Perry of CUNA Mutual, who gave our team and our customers an overview of his insights into BPM and Continuous Improvement.

I noticed at IBM Impact that Sean is a great speaker, and he didn’t disappoint in this session.  At CUNA they have a mature internal BPM practice, with over 9 million tasks processed since they started the BPM program, and 14 process applications in production.  They don’t just talk about what’s deployed however, they talk about how many FTE hours equivalent have been saved by BPM implementations, and the culture of continuous process improvement.  That focus on results, and the measures of success, is clearly cultural at CUNA.

Sean’s talk mirrored areas of focus for BP3:  a real emphasis on visibility into the process – both internally and (especially) externally.  Making a conscious decision that it was no longer acceptable to ever tell a customer you don’t know the status of their process.

Key take-aways from the talk:

  • With BPM you have to have one foot in the now, and one foot in the future – you can’t spend all your time modeling and analyzing the now, nor can you ignore how things work in order to focus on a “perfect” future design.
  • Focus on the motivators – the levers to change behavior, and the incentives to make the project succeed.
  • Let the business drive – music to my ears. At BP3 we say “let the customer drive” – but for the same reason. It is important for the business (customer) to take ownership of the solution, rather than being a sideline critic.
  • Widen the net- solicit input from a wider group – don’t get caught with feedback from a very small number of people – double check what those people are telling you, and look for wider support for what you’re doing.
  • Ideal release cycles:  Sean’s team has a release cycle of 4-8 weeks, which is typical for successful BPM programs.
  • Commit to real results.  Measurable results.    By this way of thinking, the project isn’t actually over when you go live – it isn’t over til the 6 month data is in.  This perspective is fantastic for BPM success.

Advice to repeat CUNA’s Success?  Keep it simple with minimal requirements.  Start with small successes and build on them.  Keep in mind that even giving people visibility to their performance will tend to increase their performance.  Of course, there was more to it than that… but that’s why you come to BPMCAMP in person!

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