Keeping it on the Rails
Every BPM project or initiative starts off with good intentions. Leverage the Process technology,deliver value faster, better, cheaper, and keep delivering. Often there’s training, methodology shift conversations, work streams; and then something happens! Old traditions creep in, fear of the unknown, the unforeseen, encumbers the momentum.
Process Design is about mapping and visualizing the business process to produce a desired outcome. Process Management is about executing on that design, measuring those results, identifying opportunities to improve. No one sets out to “manage” anything,a project, a product, a company; with a plan set in motion never to be revisited, revised, and improved upon. Neither does anyone set out to discover every single unknown, define every possible deviation, and every desired experience before kicking off said project, product or company.
Management implies an ongoing effort and focus to deal with, understand and control things or people. This notion should not be lost in Process Management. We must strive to start fast, stay focused, measure results, and improve. Our BPM projects must adhere to these principals in order to avoid falling off the rails and becoming victims of traditional app-dev ways of thinking.
- Define the desired output: similar to a mission statement. What is our goal, what are we producing and/or what problem are we solving?
Resist the temptation in early stage design to get caught up in the how are we going to get there. Stay focused on the goal and state it clearly
- Build a straw-man process design: this is intended to depict a possible path to the goal, but most importantly is intended to generate discussion and collaboration on the proposal. This is where requirements begin…. Note we have yet to write a multi-page (dare I say book) document of perceived requirements!
We often learn in this stage the difference between what the technologist and the business consumers think the process looks like. Both have merits but the collaboration between the two reaps the most reward.
- Agree to manage. Often the largest obstacle to continued BPM success is the fear of losing focus and favor and thus a neglect of continuous process improvement. Denounce vigorously the notion a BPM solution is a one-and-done delivery. Management, on-going measurement, and improvement is key to the ROI promise of BPM.
I find in most cases; the business consumers are more open to the transformational shift of continuous process improvement than are traditional IT organizations. This must be a core value the entire BPM team agrees upon. Deliver early, deliver often, learn, and improve.