"Go Fish" for BPM Definitions

  • May 25, 2010
  • Scott

Keith Swenson plays “Go Fish” with BPM Definitions:

This was not a scientific study — just a couple of hours of google searches to try and get a feeling for the deviant definitions.  The collection above is not representative — I picked what I felt were the most unusual definition.

Look, people have a lot of different definitions for what constitutes Tex-Mex*… but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it, or that it isn’t good.  You will, and it is.

People have different definitions of hot weather and cold weather, too.  I don’t feel that this diminishes our ability to discuss temperatures and humidity and, even, hot weather.  Colorful language is just part of the fun.

The part I find more agreement with:

My overall conclusion is that there is an “IT community” which talks about BPM as being equal to/converged with/part of system architecture/SOA/EA.  This community represents 30% to 50% of what articles on BPM.  There is another “business community” that represents the non-IT management side and sees no connection to system architecture at all, and that is maybe 40% to 55%.

The problem is that these two communities don’t communicate with each other.  They have their own magazines, their own blogs, their own books, their own analysts, their own forum sites.  Like the Democrats and the Republicans, these groups are being polarized by their own in-bred ideas bouncing around an echo-chamber of their own making.  It is a divide with potentially tragic consequences for the technology consumer.

Communication is incredibly important – BPM doesn’t cause this communication rift- but BPM projects really expose this issue because of the close proximity of the IT and Business team figuring it out and the iterative nature of the projects.

* if you don’t know Tex Mex, please come to Austin Texas and we’ll show you.

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  • You say “People have different definitions of hot weather and cold weather”. Certainly true. The definition of “snow” is different in Alaska than in Jamaica. But think how pointless it is for a person from each place to “argue” about what snow means. It is not my idea of fun. This rarely happens because this example is related to geography, and those people rarely meet.

    I am not worried that BPM also means “Beats Per Minute”. It si the “almost the same but still different” things that matter.

    Internet discussion are global, and BPM is not tied to a geography. At least in the English speaking world, at least in the community concerned with business processes, we should be able to come to a common definition of BPM.


  • In fact, the definition of snow between NY and Florida is quite different, and these people meet all the time.

    The english speaking world is quite diverse, and the BPM community reaches beyond it. I think we're going to have to live with “similar but still different” and “evolving” definitions. The history of the English language certainly predicts that it is so.

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