A Cautionary Note about Process for the People

  • March 25, 2011
  • Scott
  • 0 Comments

John Reynolds, of IBM, writes:

These experiences with “Departmental BPM” are what make Irene’s recollections of Notes’ Databases resonate so strongly with me.  The ability for a small team to develop and deploy a focussed solution is a very powerful thing… and immensely valuable for the business.  It’s a fantastic “group experience”.

But just like Notes’ Databases, there comes a time when the ability for “anyone” to develop and deploy a managed business process begins to raise “red flags” for those who have to manage the enterprise as a whole.  As BPM spreads through the enterprise, the natural tendency to want to control that spread takes hold.

I’ve experienced this first hand… Early successes with BPM, run as small agile projects, attract the attention of enterprise level architects and program managers, who react with horror at the anarchy and call a halt until control can be re-imposed.

It is all too easy for IT to kill the golden goose that lays the eggs, while trying to make sure that these departmental efforts don’t get out of control.  There’s a legitimate governance concern – but like most things, if you hold too tightly you suffocate the opportunities.  The IT governance concerns should be mostly about visibility, and less about control.  Sadly, there is often more concern about control.

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